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SC notice to govt, IMA on doctors’ strike

The attack on junior doctors at NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata has provoked doctors to call for a nationwide protest on June 16, 2019. K. Murali Kumar

The attack on junior doctors at NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata has provoked doctors to call for a nationwide protest on June 16, 2019. K. Murali Kumar  

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Contempt plea filed by NGO says the stir in June last is against 2014 court order

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Union government and the Indian Medical Association (IMA) to respond to a contempt petition filed by NGO People for Better Treatment blaming them of turning a blind eye to a nationwide strike called by doctors despite a 2014 apex court prohibition.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad A. Bobde issued the notice on the petition filed by the NGO, through its president Dr. Kunal Saha. The plea said neither the government nor the IMA tried to prevent the doctors’ strike on June 17, 2019 that left thousands of patients in dire straits.

The strike was held to demonstrate solidarity with the striking doctors of West Bengal following the assault on two junior doctors at NRS Hospital in Kolkata by the relatives of a patient who died there.

The petition said the strike that crippled medical services was held despite the November 11, 2014, court order, which “categorically held that doctors should not resort to strike under any condition”.

The court then had expressed its “desire that doctors, who carry out a noble service as God's agents by saving lives of people, should not resort to strikes with any intermittent cause but undertake their responsibility with efficiency and utmost sincerity at all times”, it pointed out.

The plea said, “In spite of the repeated and clear calls from the highest court of the land, doctors across India have continued to resort to strike disrupting regular hospital services and bringing endless pain, suffering and death for the hapless patients.”

The one-day strike across the country in June last saw withdrawal of non-essential medical services, including outpatient department services. Hospitals, however, maintained emergency, casualty and ICU services.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 6:22:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sc-notice-to-govt-ima-on-doctors-strike/article30136556.ece

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