Senior doctors of Rawalpindi Medical College took to the court after the Punjab government stopped paying ad-hoc relief as special allowance to them. The aggrieved doctors had moved the Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi bench and the hearing for the case was conducted on Monday.
Justice Ijaz Ahmed of the LHC directed secretary health, secretary finance and accountant general Punjab to submit their comments in response to the petition filed by the doctors with in three weeks.
Terming the step from the government as “arbitrary and illegal” the doctors said they were being penalised for raising their voice against low pays and asking for promotions.
The petitioners said that earlier the high court in its interim orders had directed the provincial government to continue the payment of ad-hoc relief to the young doctors serving in rural areas and urged on the court give them similar relief.
According to the letter written by the district accounts officer on May 2, following the letter of the finance department of Punjab government issued on April 21, 2011, the RMC principal was informed that the ad-hoc relief that is 50 per cent of the basic pay salary of all professors, associate professors and assistant professors had been immediately stopped.
“Therefore, the assistant, associate and professors of basic sciences in receipt of incentive Rs15000, Rs20,000 and Rs30, 000 respectively, are not entitled for the ad-hoc relief allowance 2010 with effect from July 1 2011,” it stated. The recovery of over payments was also ordered. Further list of such officers was demanded by the accounts officer so that their pay slips could be revised as per the instructions of the government.
The senior doctors in seven identical petitions raised the matter in the LHC.
The petitioners included Professor Dr Abbas Hayat head of Pathology department RMC, Professor Dr Muhammad Azam Zia, Professor Dr Muhammad Naeem head of Physiology department, Professor Dr Abdul Sattar head of Community Medicine department, Associate Professor Dr Zarmina Sohail head of Anatomy department, Associate Professor Dr Riffat Khursheed head of Biochemistry department and Associate Professor Dr Rizwan Qayyum of department of Forensic Medicine.
The respective heads of every department said that they had been authorised by other doctors to challenge the decision of the government in the court.
They have prayed to the court to set aside the orders of the government.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2011.
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