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Sacking doctor for FB comment misuse of power, say legal experts..

Sacking a Jammu-based doctor for writing a critical comment on Facebook wall of health minister Bali Bhagat is misuse of official power, legal experts said on Wednesday.
On March 15, the health department terminated services of Dr Amit Kumar, an anesthesiologist at the Government Medical College (GMC) Jammu for “violating SRO 525” which bars a government employee from posting on social media sites anything “prejudicial to the government”.
Bhaghat had posted on his FB wall that he had dedicated an “exclusive Tetanus Ward and newly installed lift facility” costing Rs 71 lakh to the patients in the GMC Jammu. However, Kumar commented that while the lift had only been repaired, the Tetanus Ward was put together by shifting already purchased beds and mattresses from the store.
After employees’ associations and Kumar’s colleagues warned of an agitation, the government revoked the sack order.
Former advocate general MI Qadri said by issuing the arbitrary termintion order without giving the doctor the right to defend himself, as guaranteed under the Constitution, shows “the blatant misuse of power”.
According to him, the SRO bars government employees from speaking falsehood or spreading rumors but doesn’t stop them from highlighting the truth.
“He (Dr Kumar) was punished for speaking truth. And now withdrawal of the arbitrary order proves the authorities were wrong and the doctor was right. So his claims should be inquired into,” asked Qadri.
Senior lawyer Zaffar Shah said the case reflected “unreasonable and arbitrary” response of the minister to a comment “truthfully made by a responsible doctor”.
He insisted that a person’s right to speak truth can’t be taken away merely because he was a government employee.
“There are no two opinions about misuse of the power in the instant case,” Shah said.

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