Bombay HC, CM Fadnavis ask doctors to resume duties, promise security
The Bombay High Court on Thursday ordered the striking doctors to resume their duties immediately and give some time to the government to make adequate security arrangements.
The High Court also ordered the state government to provide security at all government hospitals in Maharashtra so that doctors can continue their work without fearing for their lives.
The High Court ordered that no punitive action should be taken against the protesting doctors once they resume their duties, adding that the matter will be taken up for hearing again after 15 days.
The Indian Medical Association had also come out in support of the resident doctors yesterday and urged the court to not penalize the doctors for going on mass leave.
Earlier, on March 21, the division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice GS Kulkarni had ordered Maharashtra’s resident doctors to resume work immediately or face action by the management.
It further directed the Maharashtra government and hospital management to initiate contempt action against resident doctors who continued to remain on strike, adding that the doctors can resign if they don’t want to work.
The strike by Maharashtra’s doctors, who are protesting a spate of assaults on colleagues by patients’ relatives, entered the fourth day today even as nearly 2,000 of them got expulsion notice on Wednesday, March 22.
The resident doctors have alleged that patients are usually accompanied by a large number of relatives, which puts additional pressure on them.
They have demanded adequate security measures and a pass system, where not more than two relatives will be allowed to remain with a patient inside the ward.
Maharashtra CM appeals to doctors, assures security
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, while addressing the state Legislative Assembly, urged the doctors to get back to work to serve the needy.
“Because of the acts of a few irresponsible people of attacking doctors, it is not right to deny the poor their right to access to the medical facilities. I appeal to the doctors and their organisations to call off the strike and return to work,” he said.
He also stated that the government has agreed to all the demands put forth by the striking doctors.
“The state has enacted special laws to protect doctors. The quantum of punishment has been increased and attacks on doctors made a non-bailable offence,” the CM said.
“We will try to see that attacks on doctors do not happen and if it happens the perpetrators will be punished severely,” Fadnavis concluded.
Meanwhile, the state-wide protests have caused major inconvenience to poor patients who can’t afford private care and are forced to wait endlessly outside government hospitals.
Although senior doctors have been tending to emergency cases, thousands of OPD patients have been turned away due to unavailability of doctors.