Resident doctors Monday said the Supreme Court's direction to the government to release salaries of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) medicos who were absent from work during the May anti-quota strike, was a vindication of their stand.
"We have been demanding our salary for the striking period as we called off the strike as per the apex court's direction. Today's order is definitely a vindication of our stand," said Anil Sharma, a senior resident doctor of AIIMS.
"It's a blow to the health ministry as they went back on their decision of 'no punitive action against doctors'. We have full faith on the judiciary," Sharma told IANS.
Senior faculty members supporting the anti-quota stir said the resident doctors will now be able to do their duties without bothering about their salaries.
"The AIIMS faculty association welcomes the court directive," said a senior faculty member.
The apex court in a ruling Monday said: "As a matter of law, we don't approve of doctors going on strike. Normally, the principle of 'no work no pay' would apply but for your (centre's) assurance that no punitive action will be taken against them if they join back duties. So you pay the salary."
The two-judge bench comprising judges Arijit Pasayat and L.S. Panta, however, clarified that the striking medicos will get salary for the period of May 14-30, till the date the court had asked them to resume their duties.
However, the resident doctors had sought salary for the period of May 14 to June 3.
Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss had said that like any other professionals, AIIMS doctors will not be paid salary as per the "no work no pay principle". The controversy was one of the main reasons that led to a public spat between AIIMS director P. Venugopal and the minister, who is also the president of the institute.
In an earlier interaction with IANS, the health minister had said that the ministry would pay salaries to the striking medicos "only if the court directs them to do so".