Odisha govt opposes regular jobs for Covid-19 health workers
The appointments were purely for the pandemic period: H&FW dept to HC
CUTTACK: The State government has submitted before the Orissa High Court that there is no law supporting a claim for regular appointment to health workers who were engaged for contractual service during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In an affidavit, deputy secretary of the Health and Family Welfare Department Ratnakar Das has submitted that their appointments were purely schematic in nature and they were not appointed against any sanctioned posts.
“Their appointments were made simply after a walk-in interview. Remuneration paid to them was on a daily wage basis. Therefore, it cannot be said that the petitioners while discharging their duties during the pandemic period had acquired a right of regularisation even though their appointment was not against any sanctioned posts,” Das said in the counter affidavit to a petition filed by one Pradyumna Kumar Swain and six others.
The petitioners were appointed on a contractual basis as pharmacists during Covid-19 from March 28, 2020, till disengagement on December 30, 2020. They sought the court’s intervention after an advertisement was issued for the appointment of 189 staff nurses, pharmacists, laboratory technicians and 7,483 nursing officers. The Odisha Staff Selection Commission and Odisha Subordinate Staff Selection issued the advertisement on December 31, 2022, and January 21, 2023.
The affidavit was placed before the court during the last hearing on the petition on July 4 hearing. Petitioner counsel Ramakanta Sarangi submitted that the state government was yet to carry out the Central government’s May 3, 2021 circular in which all states and UTs were asked to consider giving preference in regular appointments to such health professionals who had worked for a minimum of 100 days during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The single judge bench of Justice AK Mohapatra took on record the counter affidavit and fixed the week commencing from July 17 for the next hearing on the matter and extended till then the court’s interim order in the matter. While seeking a reply from the state government on May 1, Justice Mohapatra had directed that the recruitment process shall continue, but cannot be finalised without leave of the court.