Orissa High Court: A Division Bench of S. Muralidhar, CJ and A. K Mohapatra, J., issued directions regarding Doctors being attached to Government Health Facilities and carrying on private practice without attending to their duties at the Government Health Facilities.

The instant petition was filed flagging one of the serious issues regarding Doctors being attached to Government Health Facilities, viz., the District Health Centers (DHCs), the Community Health Centers (CHCs) and the Primary Health Centers (PHCs) and also carrying on private practice without attending to their duties at the Government Health Facilities. This is due to State Government order dated 01-11-2003 permitting Government Doctors to carry on private practice after conclusion of their official duties which has had a detrimental effect on the quality of health care throughout Odisha.

Following directions were issued in this regard:

(i) The Secretary of every District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) will forthwith constitute a four-member team, which will include two lawyers of the panel of DLSA – one of whom preferably should be a woman lawyer – and two para legal volunteers (PLVs), who will undertake a visit in the next week to oneDHH, one CHC and two PHCs in the district at different hours unannounced and record:

(a) Whether all the medical staff including Doctors, Nurses, Ward Staff, who are assigned to that facility are in fact in position and in attendance?

(b) The condition of the concerned facility in terms of cleanliness, sanitation, toilet facilities, power and infrastructure;

(c) Adequacy of stocks of drugs, medicines, equipments; availability of ambulance;

(d) Accessibility (i.e. connectivity by road, availability of public transport to reach the facility)

(e) Ability to deal with emergencies and in that context availability of telephone/internet connectivity

(f) Any other matter of relevance and significance for general availability of quality healthcare

(ii) The general condition of each of such DHH, CHC and PHC will be depicted by the team in their report supported by photographs and video clippings taken on a mobile phone. This will be done over a period of a week at different times, unannounced.

(iii) The district administration and police will extend their full cooperation to the team to carry out their task without hindrance. The Secretary DLSA will co-ordinate with the authorities for this purpose.

(iv) Each of the teams will submit their reports along with video clippings and photographs addressing each of the issues highlighted in para 3 of this order in a pen-drive to the concerned Secretary DLSA on or before 5 pm on 30th November, 2021. The said reports will then be transmitted by each Secretary, DLSA in a sealed cover to this Court by Special Messenger so as to reach this Court positively on or before 5 pm on 3rd December, 2021.

(v) The Secretary, DLSA will reimburse the members of each team for expenses incurred towards transport, secretarial and incidental activity on actual basis. Each of the team members will be paid an honorarium of Rs 1,000/- (Rupees one thousand) for undertaking this exercise. The funds shall be disbursed from the contingency fund available with the District Judge concerned.

The matter is next listed on 15-12-2021. [Chittaranjam Mohanty v. State of Orissa, 2021 SCC OnLine Ori 1966, decided on 17-11-2021]

Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.


For Petitioner: Mr Chittaranjan Mohanty (In-person)

For State: Mr L. Samantaray (For Opp Party 1 and 2) and Mr Pradipta Kumar Mohanty (For Opp Party 3)

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