The Allahabad High Court has sought Uttar Pradesh (UP) government’s reply on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking extension of retirement age for doctors. The PIL highlights an acute shortage of medical officers at hospitals across the state due to the retirement age being 62 years, especially at a time when a health emergency has been declared due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Bearing in mind the nature of issues which stand raised, let the State (UP) respondents file a reply on this petition within a period of four weeks,” Justice Yashwant Varma said.
The PIL, filed by Dr Prem Singh, sought to “extend the age of retirement of medical officers and doctors up to the age of 70 years or 65 years with immediate effect”.
The court in its May 18 order said, “Admittedly the age of superannuation as statutorily fixed remains and there is no challenge to that particular rule in the present writ petition. The petitioner (Singh) admittedly shall attain the age of superannuation as fixed under those rules on May 31, 2020.
“The grant of extension in service beyond the age of superannuation as statutorily fixed would virtually amount to the grant of final relief. The stay application is consequently refused.”
Senior Counsel Pankaj Garg and advocates – Milind Garg and Nikita Jain Garg, appearing for Singh sought quashing of two notices dated, February 17, 2020 and November 7, 2019, issued by the Chief Medical Officer, informing Singh that he is to retire from service on May 31, 2020 at the age of 62 years.
Singh, who presently holds the post of Medical Officer at Meerut, through his counsel urged that he be allowed to continue in service up to the age of 65 years.
“At present, when a health emergency has already been declared in the country on account of the COVID-19 virus, which is a global pandemic, the need of experienced doctors and medical staff is the need for the nation, therefore, the present petition is mainly and majorly for public cause,” Pankaj Garg argued.
The petitioner stated that “at present, there is a shortage of approximately 7400 Medical Officers/Doctors in the State of UP against the sanctioned post of 18,000 and the process of retirement of the serving medical officers is going on and are retiring at the age of 62 years, while the retiring officers can very well serve upto the age of 70 years.”
The PIL also said that if medical officers are allowed to retire at the age of 62, then, the vacuum of experienced medical officers cannot be filled even by new appointments.
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