Force states to obey your order, pay salaries to doctors, SC tells Centre | India News -
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Force states to obey your order, pay salaries to doctors, SC tells Centre | India News

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday took a serious view of Delhi, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tripura and Karnataka defying Centre’s directions for timely payment of salaries to doctors and health workers on Covid duty and said the Centre should know its powers to force the states to obey its orders.
Responding to allegations made by petitioner Arushi Jain and doctors’ associations about non-payment of salaries despite the court’s June 17 order, solicitor general Tushar Mehta informed a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R S Reddy and M R Shah that the Centre had on June 18 written to the states for timely payment of salaries to doctors and healthcare staff.
He said following the persistent complaint about non-payment of salaries on time in many states, the Union government had sent reminders to all states on July 20. But till date, Delhi, Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka and Tripura have not filed reports indicating compliance of the Centre’s June 18 direction and July 20 reminder. Appearing for Jain, senior advocate K V Vishwanathan informed the bench that salaries of Corona Warriors are still not paid timely by many states.
The defiance of the states did not go down well with the bench, which told SG, “You are the central government. You are not helpless. You have the power to take necessary steps under law and Constitution to make the defaulting states comply with the Centre’s directives.”
Mehta told the bench that necessary steps would be taken by the government within a week. The bench recorded his stand in its order – “the solicitor general submits that appropriate steps in this regard shall be taken by the Central Government to ensure that salaries of doctors and health workers are released. He prays for and is granted a week’s time.”
Appearing for different petitioners, advocates Mithu Jain and Mohit Paul, drew the court’s attention to many hospitals treating the mandatory quarantine period for doctors and health workers as ‘off-duty’ and ‘on leave’ and expressed apprehension that it could have an adverse bearing on their salaries and service.
The SG immediately said that he personally feels that the quarantine period for Corona warriors should be treated as ‘on duty’. The bench in its order said, “Tushar Mehta fairly submits that the said period cannot be treated as leave and he will obtain necessary instructions/clarifications in that regard.” The bench listed the matter for further hearing on August 10.

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