Some 160 experienced doctors of the BSMMU, the country's lone medical university, are going to lose their jobs due to irregularities in recruitment by the authorities concerned 11 years ago.
They have not been paid in March and necessary actions on their termination would be taken in a week or so as per a court verdict, said Prof Sharfuddin Ahmed, pro vice-chancellor (administration) of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU).
The doctors include more than 80 female physicians and 12 are assistant and associate professors. They would be humiliated, the physicians said.
“We had no fault on our part. We maintained each and every procedure of the recruitment. Why should we become the victim?” said Nahida Parveen, a medical officer of the university that has a 1,500-bed hospital.
She said she did her duties with outmost diligence for around a decade. “But, suddenly now the BSMMU is not paying our salaries for the month of March. This is unfortunate.”
Prof Sharfuddin said they could do nothing.
“The BSMMU authorities are sympathetic [towards the doctors] but it is a court verdict and they [BSMMU authorities] have to comply,” he told this correspondent on April 3 when asked why the doctors would have to be victims of the wrongdoings of the BSMMU authorities.
Asked if the patients would be deprived of medical services, he said the BSMMU authorities would consider new recruits if there was any shortage.
According to legal documents, the BSMMU advertised in a newspaper on October 18, 2005, seeking to recruit medical officers. It did not mention any definite number of vacant posts.
Iqbal Arslan, the then secretary general of Swadhinata Chikitshak Parishad, a pro-Awami League doctors' association, filed a writ petition with the High Court against the recruitment advertisement.
The petition alleged that the BSMMU had been involved in irregularities in recruitment since 2001 and many appointments were made on the basis of political considerations.
The then BSMMU vice-chancellor MA Hadi floated the advertisement for recruiting 200 medical officers, for which the posts had not been created by the appropriate authority, the university syndicate, Arslan said, adding that this had rendered the appointments illegal.
“So many medical officers were not required,” he told this correspondent.
ABM Safiullah, assistant professor of gastrology, one of the 160 losing their jobs, said the High Court on February 27, 2006, in an interim order allowed the appointments of 200 medical officers.
Accordingly, 200 medical officers were appointed on March 1, 2006, and their jobs were regularised on March 18, 2008.
Some 40 doctors, however, had left for other jobs.
On December 14, 2010, the High Court through its verdict declared illegal the recruitments through the advertisement.
When the BSMMU and the aggrieved physicians challenged the verdict with the Appellate Division, the apex court stayed the High Court order on December 20 the same year.
After six years, the Appellate Division on February 22 this year upheld the High Court order.
“I have been totally undone by not getting paid in March,” said Tanzina Ivy Chowdhury, a medical officer who had gotten a civil service job through 24th BCS but had opted for the BSMMU instead considering the scope for higher education.
Ivy, who is doing her MS in gynaecology at the BSMMU, said she and her family were fully dependent on the salary, and her losing the job makes future of everything, including her studies, uncertain.
Prof Iqbal Arslan, who had filed the writ, told this correspondent the full judgment of the Appellate Division was yet to be published, and the BSMMU not paying the doctors was inappropriate.
Asked why the doctors have to be victims of the irregularities the BSMMU authorities had indulged in, he said the judgment of the Appellate Division could clarify what is to happen to the doctors.
“We have to wait before making any comments,” Arslan said.