About 35 percent of the sanctioned posts in the public health department are lying vacant, the Maharashtra government informed the Bombay High Court on Monday..The Joint Secretary of the Maharashtra Public Health Department informed that out of a total sanctioned posts of 57,714 in the department, 37,312 seats have been filled while 20,402 posts remained vacant..The affidavit was filed in response to queries made by the High Court while dealing with a suo motu public interest litigation initiated in the wake of patient deaths in government hospitals at Nanded and Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar.A division bench of Chief Justice Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya and Justice Arif Doctor took cognizance of the issue after a lawyer approached the court with a letter.The Court proceeded to direct the State authorities to file an affidavit setting out details regarding vacancies in hospitals..Maharashtra hospital deaths: State cannot shift public health burden to private hospitals, says Bombay High Court.In his affidavit, the joint secretary also informed that apart from the regular posts, steps were also being taken to fill vacancies under the National Health Mission, which is floated by the Central government and executed by the State government on a 60-40 fund basis. "There are 33,084 posts which are sanctioned, and out of this, 27,673 posts are filled on contractual basis. The recruitment of 5,411 posts are under process. Under Indian public health standard program, 951 specialist doctors are appointed on full time basis," the affidavit added. .A separate affidavit filed by the Principal Secretary of the Department of Medical Education and Drugs (MEDD) in Maharashtra, 14,714 posts (42%) out of 36,145 sanctioned posts are vacant. MEDD oversees medical colleges and tertiary care hospitals including the ones in Nanded and Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar districts of Maharashtra..The Principal Secretary also detailed various steps being taken to recruit candidates to various teaching cadres on priority. The secretary, however, also submitted that there seemed to be a poor level of response from doctors when it comes to joining teaching posts. The affidavit also highlighted that a budget of ₹174,40,02,000 was allocated for the year 2023-24 for procurement of medicines to 71 government-run medical institutions in the State.The Principal Secretary added that till date, only 30 percent of the amount had been received by the Department. Further, it was disclosed that an amount of ₹22,95,74,000 was spent on various medical institutions which included colleges, hospitals and health care centers.