Implement recommendation on nurses" wages or face contempt action: HC to Delhi govt

  • | Tuesday | 24th May, 2022

New Delhi, May 24 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has asked the Delhi government to implement in terms of an earlier court order the recommendations regarding the wages and working conditions of nurses employed in private hospitals and warned that in case of non-compliance, the concerned officer should be present before it on the next date of hearing to explain why contempt proceedings should not be initiated. Justice Subramonium Prasad, while dealing with Indian Professional Nurses" contempt petition arising from a division bench order, stated that the city government"s stand that the recommendations of the expert committee are “unimplementable” cannot be accepted in the present contempt proceedings after their acceptance was defended by it in another case before a single judge. The court granted three weeks to the Delhi government counsel to seek instructions and noted that in July 2019, the division bench had, in view of the Delhi Government order dated June 25, 2018, accepting the recommendations, directed the implementation of the same. “It is expected that the GNCTD shall comply with the Order dated July 22, 2019, before the next date of hearing. In case the said Order is not complied with, the concerned Officers are directed to be present in the court to explain as to why contempt proceedings under Section 12 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 should not be initiated against the erring officers,” the court said in its order dated May 17. “At this juncture, this court is not open to accepting the change in the stance of the GNCTD inasmuch as the GNCTD, after accepting the recommendations of the Expert Committee and defending the Order of the DGHS dated June 25, 2018, before the learned Single Judge, is now taking a U-turn by stating that said Order cannot be implemented. This conduct of the GNCTD is not appreciated,” it said. The panel, set up by the central government on the Supreme Court"s direction, had recommended a minimum wage of Rs 20,000 for nurses working in establishments with less than 50 beds. It had also suggested that their working conditions, like leave, working hours, medical facilities, transportation, and accommodation, should be on par with the nurses working in government hospitals. In the contempt proceedings, the Delhi government lawyer said that at this juncture, it is not financially viable for the government to compel private hospitals and nursing homes to implement the pay scale as recommended by the said Expert Committee. The court stated that if the recommendations of the expert committee are found to be not financially viable by the Delhi government, it is for them to approach the division bench to seek clarification. “However, GNCTD has chosen not to adopt that procedure and has now filed an affidavit dated August 19, 2021, stating that the recommendations of the Expert Committee are unimplementable,” the court noted. “It (Delhi government"s conduct) further raises the apprehension that something has transpired during the time that has passed between the rendering of the learned Single Judge"s Order dated July 24, 2019 (when acceptance of the recommendations was upheld) and the filing of the affidavit dated August 19, 2021, that has caused the GNCTD to take a 180° change in its stand. This can be construed as wilful disobedience of the Orders of this Court,” the court said. The petitioner told the court that after the Delhi government has passed an order accepting the recommendations and defended the same, it is now not open to it to renege on its own orders and state that it cannot be implemented. The matter would be heard next on July 12. PTI ADS RKS RKS

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