Should police stand up and wish govt doctors? Row at Tamil Nadu hospital sparks debate
One of the constables lodged a police complaint after being 'verbally abused'. The medical officer also lodged a counter complaint later. Superintendent of Police S Jayakumar has ordered an inquiry.
THOOTHUKUDI: Alleging that the Senior Residential Medical Officer of Kovilpatti Government District Headquarters Hospital verbally abused three police constables as they did not stand up and wish him, one of the three cops has lodged a police complaint. The medical officer also lodged a counter complaint later. Superintendent of Police S Jayakumar has ordered an inquiry by Deputy Superintendent of Police M Uthayasooriyan into both the complaints.
Three constables were assigned duty at the hospital on Saturday as Covid-19 positive prisoners were receiving treatment there. In his complaint, K Kanagaraj said, "While we were on duty outside the Covid ward, a person in civil dress came and hurled abuses at us for not wishing him. We did not first realise that the man was Senior Residential Medical Officer R Seenivasagan. He shouted at us in front of the public and said this is what will happen when SSLC passouts are provided government jobs. We told him that we did not recognise him as he was not wearing any coat or stethoscope. However, he continued to abuse us and threatened to remove us from our jobs."
In his counter complaint, Seenivasagan claimed that the constables were the ones who abused him. "When I entered the ward, the men were sitting outside with their legs crossed and busy with WhatsApp chats. When I came out too, they did not stand up and one of their shoes brushed my clothes. I simply asked them why they were not doing their duty. Then they abused me in front of the patients and threatened to register an FIR against me," he added in the complaint.
When contacted by TNIE, Seenivasagan said the constables actually knew who he was. "I have issued them medical certificates in several cases. Wishing people is a matter of respect. Superintendents of Police (SP) and Deputy SPs wish Collectors and Ministers when they see them. It does not mean that they are being enslaved," he said.
Kanagaraj denied the claim that a constable's shoe touched Seenivasagan's clothes and told TNIE that the police personnel were issued no orders or guidelines to wish doctors. Speaking to TNIE, an SP said police personnel need not stand or wish doctors according to the department protocols.
Going by the pay-scale, an assistant surgeon is on par with Group I officers, including Revenue Divisional Officers or DSPs, and a hospital dean is above a district collector, said former dean of a government medical college hospital. "However, the RDOs and Collectors enjoy more power than the doctors. Police personnel even salute the doctors who are attached to the forensic department. But of course, saluting or wishing doctors is not mandatory," he added.