A person is senior by virtue of seniority and deserves to be respected: Delhi High Court

A person is a senior by virtue of his seniority and should be respected even if he has less academic qualification than juniors, the Delhi High Court has observed.

The high court said insubordination is misconduct and refused to interfere with the orders of a special executive magistrate (SEM) and a trial court directing a junior AIIMS doctor, who had an argument with his senior, to maintain peace in the South Delhi area.

“Senior is by virtue of his seniority, may be having less academic degrees than juniors, still he or she should be respected and maintain the subordination,” Justice Suresh Kumar Kait said.

The issue relates to an argument between the doctor and the head of department (HoD) of Rheumatology in March 2017, following which the senior woman doctor had complained to the police against the subordinate.

The court was dealing with the plea of an All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) doctor challenging the SEM’s August 3, 2018 order holding that it was established that he used to talk to the complainant, who is the head of department, in a loud voice and his behaviour was improbable, undesirable and uncalled for on two occasions, that is, at the OPD and the doctor’s chamber.

The SEM had also bound down the doctor to maintain peace in jurisdiction of South Delhi district for a period of one year in sum of Rs 10,000.

The high court said, “As of now, more than one year has already been passed. Thus, nothing remains in the present petition to interfere with the orders passed by the SEM and the additional sessions judge.”

Before the high court, the doctor claimed that he was not properly advised on the issue of filing the appeal against the order passed by the SEM by his previous lawyers and the trial court also proceeded to dismiss his appeal only on the ground of limitation.

Justice Kait said the petitioner was a qualified MBBS doctor and the plea taken by him that he was ill advised by his previous counsel not to challenge the SEM’s order saying that the same is not of much consequence, does not stand to reason as the impugned order was so clear to be understandable even by a lay man.

The high court said it does not lie in the mouth of the doctor to say that he was not aware of the consequences of that order on his career or service record.

“The petitioner (doctor) is an educated person and it cannot be believed that he was not aware of the import of the impugned order or the repercussions of said order on his career or service record,” it said.

The court noted that the doctor was selected and appointed assistant professor in 2016 and claimed to be highly qualified, while the complainant was the head of department of Rheumatology.

“Thus, whatsoever academic qualification the petitioner has, he cannot compare with respondent no.2 (complainant HOD) who has very vast experience and presently HOD where the petitioner just started his career in AIIMS only in the year 2016 and present incident is dated March 22, 2017,” the high court said.

“Thus, it seems the petitioner has attitude because of his so-called educational qualification but forgetting that insubordination is misconduct,” it said.

The court said the complainant is a woman and HoD, thus, petitioner was not supposed to create ruckus in her chamber and threat her for dire consequences.

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