Legal status of an employed Doctor:
Termination of a Doctor from the position of Junior Surgeon in a private hospital without being tendered the retrenchment compensation and notice pay under section 25-F of Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, which is required to be paid to a workman. This makes termination illegal. But the question is:
Is doctor a workman?
The term workman has been defined in Section 2(s) of the Act, which reads:-
“workman” means any person (including an apprentice) employed in any industry to do any manual, unskilled, skilled, technical, operational, clerical or supervisory work for hire or reward, whether the terms of employment be express or implied, and for the purposes of any proceeding under this Act in relation to an industrial dispute, includes any such person who has been dismissed, discharged or retrenched in connection with, or as a consequence of, that dispute, or whose dismissal, discharge or retrenchment has led to that dispute, but does not include any such person—
(i) who is subject to the Air Force Act, 1950 (45 of 1950), or the Army Act, 1950 (46 of 1950), or the Navy Act, 1957 (62 of 1957); or
(ii) who is employed in the police service or as an officer or other employee
of a prison; or
(iii) who is employed mainly in a managerial or administrative capacity; or
(iv) who, being employed in a supervisory capacity, draws wages exceeding ten thousand rupees per mensem or exercises, either by the nature of the duties attached to the office or by reason of the powers vested in him, functions mainly of a managerial nature.”
There is a distinction between a person employed in a hospital and a person employed in an industry and that not every time that a doctor was employed in an institution; he/she became a workman. Nature and character of the relationship between the employee and the employer had to be examined and ascertained to decide whether a doctor was a workman or not. Further, whereas ‘occupation’ was a principal activity that earned a regular wage or salary for a person, a ‘profession’ was an occupation that required extensive training and the study and mastery of specialised knowledge and usually had a professional association, ethical code and process of certification or licensing.
[Claimant Doctor] was a professional and it could not be said that he was engaged/employed for doing technical work. He did use his professional skills and knowledge for diagnosing the diseases and treating the patients but this could not be said to fall within the ambit and scope of Section 2(s) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.