The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to pass orders on a plea seeking to provide security to doctors in government hospitals. The court directed the matter to be listed before an appropriate bench in July, after the summer vacations, ANI reported.
The bench said that the matter of protection of doctors is serious and needs consideration, but is not urgent any more, Bar and Bench reported. The Indian Medical Association had filed an intervention application in support of the petitioner, Alakh Alok Srivastava, in the case.
“We agreed to hear the plea today as there was a strike by doctors and medical fraternity in West Bengal and other states,” the bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Surya Kant said according to PTI. “The strike has been called off and there appears no urgency to hear the petition. List before an appropriate bench.”
The Supreme Court said it has to take a “holistic view” of the situation, not merely from the viewpoint of doctors. “We can’t protect doctors at the cost of other citizens,” it said. “We have to look at the larger picture. We are not against the protection given to doctors.”
Junior doctors in West Bengal had gone on strike on July 11, a day after a mob beat up two interns following the death of a patient at NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata. Doctors at NRS Medical College and Hospital called off their strike on Monday following a meeting with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who assured the doctors of security at the workplace.
On Friday, doctors around the country had joined the strike. The Indian Medical Association had called for protests on Friday, and said a countrywide strike would be held on Sunday.
Doctors in New Delhi resumed their duties on Tuesday, PTI reported. Doctors at the Centre-run All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Lady Hardinge Medical College and Hospital, and the Delhi government’s GTB Hospital and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Hospital had stopped non-essential services and Out Patient Department facilities in support of their colleagues in West Bengal on Friday.
“With the decision of the protesting doctors of West Bengal to call off the strike, the resident doctors at AIIMS, New Delhi, too shall resume their duties with immediate effect,” a statement by the Resident Doctors’ Association at AIIMS read on Tuesday. “We sincerely hope that the central government shall soon bring in a new central law on doctors’ security as promised by Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan in a time-bound manner, failing which we would be forced to resort to strike in future.”