An assistant surgeon, Dr Tipu Sultan, of Dapdapia Union Health Centre under Jhalakathi district was given a show cause letter today, over some Facebook status he wrote.
The ‘show cause’ letter signed by his superior, Dr Shiuly Parvin, the health and family planning officer of Nalchity upazila, stated, “You often mock and post unfavourable representations of the operations of the government’s health division on Facebook.” It added that his Facebook post was a violation of “civility” and the code of conduct of government officers, and is a punishable offence.
The letter also pointed out that his Facebook activity violated Government Servants (Discipline and Appeal) Rules-2018. The letter broadly mentioned the entire gamut of his Facebook activity as a violation of the code.
The possible post in question (which has since been removed) spoke of the authorities’ mismanagement in supplying authentic N95 masks that contributed to doctors and nurses being infected. He claimed that he himself was infected on July 1.
According to Government Servants (Discipline and Appeal) Rules-2018, which Dr Sultan is being penalised under, the grounds on which a civil servant can be penalised are: “avoiding duty, ignoring orders, dishonesty, lodging false complaints, corruption, desertion and terrorism”. Specifics of these charges are not clarified, and Facebook activity is not mentioned.
“We have examined Dr Sultan’s social media presence and could not observe any status that is against the government in any way. If he is being ‘show-caused’ for what he posts, then the same should be done for all doctors — everyone shares content like this. There can be codes of conduct but freedom of expression cannot be restricted,” said Dr Nirupam Das, chief administrator of the Bangladesh Doctors Foundation.
Dr Sultan was a graduate of the 39th Bangladesh Civil Service examination and a graduate of Faridpur Medical College.