SHC Summons Health Secretary to Explain Illegal Appointments in Liaquat University Hospital

Dawn

HYDERABAD: The Sindh High Court (SHC) Hyderabad circuit bench on Wednesday directed the Sindh health secretary to appear in person on July 24 to assist the court regarding illegalities committed in recruitment process at the Liaquat University Hospital (LUH) Hyderabad city branch.

A division bench, comprising Justice Salahuddin Panhwar and Justice Adnan Iqbal Chaudhry, passed the order on two separate constitutional petitions filed by hospital employees.

Abdul Basit and 171 other LUH employees were represented by advocate Zamir Ghumro while advocate Malik Naeem Iqbal appeared on behalf of Zakir Hussain and two others who challenged appointments of Abdul Basit and others in a separate petition.

Mr Ghumro stated in the plea that petitioner employees were working under control of the LUH medical superintendent (MS) after having been appointed in different grades following the procedure. They said they performed duties, but they were not paid salaries.

They said the MS in pursuance of permission granted by the health secretary initiated recruitment process in respect of posts falling from BS-1 to BS-5 and the process was completed by a three-member selection/recruitment committee which prepared merit list of 171 successful candidates after their walk-in-interviews.

They said the petitioners were issued appointment letters after being declared medically fit and they joined duties. They said that petitioners were performing duties to the satisfaction of their employer, but they were not paid salaries. They said it transpired that respondents were trying to terminate their services in a surreptitious manner and due to political influence.

They asked the court to declare respondents’ failure to release their salaries as violative of Article 3, 9 and 11 of the Constitution. They said their salaries should be released and respondents should be restrained from terminating their services or taking adverse action against them.

Today, the court was informed by the additional advocate general (AAG) of Sindh that an inquiry was initiated by the Sindh chief minister whereby the whole process of recruitment was declared as illegal.

The court told him that it would examine this aspect on the next date. It said that no criterion was available to appoint deserving candidates on those posts.

Petitioners Zakir Hussain and others said that several persons were appointed from one family in the hospital. Naming those beneficiaries, they said eligible candidates were ignored. They said it was done through an illegal process of appointments conducted by the MS and his recruitment team as eligible candidates under son quota and those already working as daily-wage earners were ignored.

They said the petition was filed by the beneficiaries tactfully as they did not mention their caste and addresses to cover nepotism policy in appointment. They said the petitioners qualified for appointment on the basis of son quota and the fact that they were working as daily-wage earners.

They asked the court to terminate services of respondents No. 11 to 182 and order fresh appointments. They said that an inquiry should be ordered against the respondent hospital officers, including the then MS and director administration Abdul Sattar Jatoi.

The MS of LUH city branch told the court that 12 ongoing annual development programme (ADP) schemes were completed whereby around 900 posts were required to be sanctioned. He said the finance department sanctioned 305 posts. He said that 877 posts were vacant and the hospital management was facing great hardships to cope with the situation on a daily basis, particularly when daily outpatient department (OPD) facilitated treatment to about 9,000 patients.

The MS contended that earlier on the recommendation of the MS and health secretary, the government was required to increase 2,000 beds in the city branch of the hospital and 2,000 beds in the Jamshoro hospital. He said that requests were made by the MS, but no action was taken.

The court noted that the LUH catered to the need of 13 districts and was the only teaching hospital in the region, comprising two divisions of Mirpurkhas and Hyderabad. The court directed the Sindh finance secretary to ensure that the sanctioned posts in fresh ADPs were approved within 10 days.

The court ordered the Sindh secretary health to attend the court on the next date of hearing to assist the court with regard to alleged illegalities committed in the recruitment process. The court also ordered the planning and development secretary to submit a progress report with regard to increase in the number of beds in both hospitals. The court fixed the matter for July 24.

DECLINED: The bench declined to hear a petition of Sindh University Teachers Association general secretary Dr Arfana Mallah against allegations of corruption, violation of rules and mismanagement in SU. It noted that one of the judges of the bench was a member of SU’s syndicate. The court transferred it to the principal seat

Comments are closed.