The division bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M S Sonak was irked by the apathy of the government when it comes to posting general physicians as well as specialists in tribal areas.
     
The order came on a Public Interest Litigation filed by Purnima Upadhyay, seeking effective implementation of the state and Central schemes to fight malnourishment in the Melghat area of Maharashtra.
     
During the hearing, the judges were shocked to hear that 105 posts of MBBS doctors and 71 posts of specialists were vacant in the 11 tribal districts of the state. The government lawyer said that doctors were generally not willing to take up the posting at district hospitals and rural health centers.
     
"There appears to be a glamour quotient for medical doctors to be posted in metropolitan areas. The Public Health Department should have a rotational policy which will ensure that doctors are available in the sensitive areas where there is need for more care," the court said.
     
The petitioner cited the example of Yerwada mental hospital at Pune, which has four gynaecologists when none is needed.
     
"The needs of the community are not borne in mind. Influence is exercised in the corridors of power to retain plum postings," the court said.
     
The judges directed that principal secretary of the public health department should frame a policy by October 31 to ensure that vacancies at the district hospitals and rural health centers are filled up.

(Agencies)

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