GUWAHATI: Blame it on her pregnancy, a Meghalaya doctor has been shown the door.
Rachael RA Rapsang, who was the dental officer at the church-run Dr H GordonRoberts Hospital in Shillong, had applied for nine months’ maternity leave. But the hospital authorities not only rejected it, they also terminated her services and asked her to refund the money paid in advance to her. It emerged that Rapsang on May 13 applied for leave to medical superintendent David D Tariang. More than two months later, on July 16, she was informed by the authorities that her leave application could not be considered since there was no provision for such leave in contract service.
“As such, your service as a contract staff is automatically discontinued with effect from June 1, and the pay already drawn by you for June 15 is to be refunded,” a letter, which she received, read.
Rapsang had been serving in the hospital for the last five years and her service contract, extended by a year, was to have expired in April next year.
“…This is self-termination and not termination. No organisation on earth would grant a person, with a year’s contract, nine months’ leave. However, she (Rapsang) can reapply if she so desires,” Tariang told Express.
But the hospital authorities have already drawn censure from several quarters. Tshering Yangi, who is a former member of Meghalaya State Commission for Women, said it was a case of violation of fundamental rights. “An adult woman has every right to conceive,” she said. Activist Agnes Kharshiing of the Civil Society Women Organisation said the doctor should have been granted leave of at least three months, if not nine.
“The contractual employees in many services are deprived of certain rightful provisions. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that the private institutions do not exploit the contract staff,” she said, adding: “private institutions should be bound by certain conditions to protect the rights of the employees”.