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New Delhi:The Supreme Court on Friday said the Centre is not powerless to ensure that state governments obey its directive in connection with the release of salaries of doctors and healthcare workers, and also asked why quarantine period of doctors and health workers is treated as leave.

The Centre informed the apex court that some state governments have not paid salaries to doctors and health workers regularly despite the Centre’s directive.

 

A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said that the Centre is not powerless to ensure states obeyed its directive, and asked the Centre’s counsel to ensure that doctors and health care workers are paid their salaries. The top court has listed the matter for further hearing on August 10.

On the non-payment of salaries, the apex court told the Centre’s counsel, “You are not helpless. You have to see to it that your order is implemented. You have powers under the DM Act. You can take steps also.”

The apex court also asked the Centre why the quarantine period for doctors and health workers is being treated as period of leave.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, contended before the bench that it should be treated as on duty. The bench asked Mehta to provide necessary clarification.

The apex court said the Centre should apprise its stand on this issue on the next date of hearing.

The observations were made by the bench during hearing of a petition seeking timely payment of salaries to frontline Covid-19 warriors and doctors. The Centre had informed the top court that it has written to states but all haven’t replied.

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