New Delhi: The Delhi high court has directed the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government to implement the Supreme Court’s order relating to wages and working conditions of nurses in private hospitals of the city.
An expert committee, set up by the Centre in pursuance of the SC order, had recommended a minimum wage of ₹20,000 for nurses working in hospitals with less than 50 beds. It said the conditions of nurses working in private hospitals should be on a par with nurses at government hospitals.
The high court order was passed by a single-judge bench, comprising Justice C. Hari Shankar, in a petition by Association of Healthcare Providers (India).
The expert committee had suggested that steps should be taken by all states to formulate legislation/guidelines to implement its recommendations.
“A harmonious balancing of the interests of the hospital and the nurses appears to have informed the consideration, by the Expert Committee, of the issue before it, and the recommendations that have followed as a consequence thereof, and this Court is convinced that no occasion arises for any interference, by it, with the said recommendations," the judgment read.
The committee, comprising high-ranking officials and representatives of private hospitals, has found that the “pay and working condition" of nurses employed in private hospitals/nursing homes “is really pathetic". No compromise can be made as far as ensuring optimum working conditions for nurses is concerned, it said.
The committee equated the salary, to be paid to nurses in private hospitals and nursing homes, with those paid to nurses in government hospitals. “It cannot be said, by any stretch of imagination, that the recommendation is expropriatory in nature," the panel added.
The HC also observed that the compliance with the apex court order could not be avoided on the ground of financial issues. “Ex facie, therefore, the manner in which the expert committee has proceeded, and the recommendations that have resulted as a consequence thereof, cannot be characterized, to any extent, as either arbitrary or irrational, so as to justify any interference, by this Court, exercising writ jurisdiction," the court concluded.