The Supreme Court Wednesday asked the Centre to issue a direction to states for payment of salaries to doctors and healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients.
Warning that non-compliance of the order would be viewed seriously, the court asked Centre to file a report on payments within a month. It also said that healthcare staff involved in fighting the infection should not be denied quarantine facilities.
During the hearing, Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta appearing for the Centre, told the court that the government had already issued a circular saying that the healthcare workers must be paid. He also said that a directive to the states will be issued within 24 hrs and the Chief Secretaries of states will be responsible to ensure timely salaries. He also said that non-payment of salaries will be made criminal offence under the NDMA Act.
The court was hearing a PIL by Dr Arushi Jain, who urged the court to direct the government to take over vacant hotels, guesthouses etc and use them as quarantine facilities for frontline medical workers.
In its previous hearing, the apex court had asked the government to take care of the safety needs of health workers involved in the war against Covid-19, saying the nation cannot afford to have dissatisfied soldiers in the fight. “This is also a kind of war. You do not want, the country cannot have dissatisfied soldiers in this war that is being made against corona. Channel the extra money to this issue,” Justice S K Kaul sitting with Justices Ashok Bhushan and M R Shah told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.
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