Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday came down heavily on striking resident doctors of government-run hospitals, directing them to resume work immediately. The HC also asked the government and the Mumbai civic body to serve termination letters to doctors who do not report for duty by Wednesday.
Resident doctors, however, have decided to continue with the strike till their demands are met. Dr Ajay Kumar, a resident doctor from Sion Hospital, told The Fress Press Journal, “We are not resuming work until we get a written letter from the government assuring us of the safety of doctors.”
Earlier, a division bench chaired by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Girish Kulkarni heard a petition filed by advocate Datta Mane praying for a direction keeping in mind the suffering of thousands of patients. Mane informed the bench that more than 4,000 doctors across the state have gone on strike.
The advocate appearing for the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) told the bench that the docs took the extreme step after repeated instances of attacks on them and the government’s inability to protect the members.
An angry Chief Justice told the doctors, “It is shocking that so many doctors have gone on mass leave. We understand that there have been attacks and we would look into it but that does not mean that you (doctors) will not enter hospitals and work. If you cannot work, you better resign.”
“We want you to resume work with immediate effect and comply with this court’s earlier orders and if you still want to continue with the strike, then the hospital managements are at full liberty to terminate your services,” the Chief Justice Manjula Chellur observed.
The Chief Justice expressed anguish over the attitude of the doctors. “It is a shame on the profession if you compare yourselves with ordinary workmen of factories who stop work over demands.” The bench directed the doctors to resume work at the earliest else the court would initiate contempt proceedings. “You cannot let people suffer because of your demands,” the Chief Justice said. However, taking cognizance of the doctors’ argument, the bench has asked the state government and the Mumbai civic body to indicate what measures they would be taking to ensure the protection of the doctors.