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Saraf further highlighted that he was personally overseeing and actively involved in filling up the vacancies. He assured the high court that the state government would be completing the recruitment for all Group C category posts within one month, as only the issuance of appointment letters remained pending.
On Friday, the Bombay High Court criticized the Maharashtra State Government for not fully utilizing the budgetary allocation designated for the procurement of drugs and medical equipment.
“If you have made a budgetary allocation, then it needs to be spent. If the budget is Rs 2, then only Rs 1.5 is spent. This is a new tendency these days where the money lies unspent,” the bench said.
The bench remarked that appropriate steps should be taken to spend the allocated money because if it is not utilized, it gets lapsed at the cost of the healthcare system.
“Though the Advocate General has stated that after the constitution of the State Procurement Authority, the process of procuring of drugs and medical equipment has gained pace. Thus, we expect adequate and appropriate steps to be taken to spend because if not used then it gets lapsed at the cost of the health care system,” the bench said.
The division bench of the high court, comprising Chief Justice Devendra Upadhyaya and Justice Arif Doctor, was hearing a suo moto Public Interest Litigation (PIL) registered by the high court concerning deaths in state-run hospitals in Nanded and Chattrapti Shambhajinagar.
The bench also observed that vacancies in key positions are likely to hamper services and facilities in hospitals, emphasizing the urgent need to fill all such vacancies.
“So far as the Department of Medical Education is concerned, against the total posts which are 26,821 in number, 8,721 are vacant. In respect of posts of the Public Health Department, as against sanctioned 57,740 posts, 20,402 are vacant. Roughly calculated, one-third of posts in Group C are vacant. Any vacancy in these posts is bound to hamper services and facilities in hospitals. There is an urgent need to fill all vacancies,” the bench said.
Advocate General Birendra Saraf, representing the state government, informed the bench that a Chief Executive Officer has been appointed to the Maharashtra Medicines Procurement Authority.
However, the division bench emphasized the urgent need to fill the vacancies promptly. The bench urged both the state government and the Maharashtra Public Service Commission to expedite the process.
Additionally, the bench directed the Maharashtra Public Service Commission to submit an affidavit detailing the anticipated timeline for the recruitment process.
The bench will now hear the PIL on 1st February 2023.
Case title: High Court on its own motion vs State of Maharashtra
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