The Supreme Court on Tuesday deferred hearing on plea seeking safety and security for doctors in government hospitals. The apex court said that “since doctors have called off their strike in West Bengal and other states, there's no urgency to hear the plea.” The top court also refused to issue notice to the Centre. However, it also said that it is keeping open larger issue of protection of medical professionals. The top court said that the matter can now be taken up in July.
The Supreme Court had on Monday agreed to hear the plea seeking safety and security of doctors in government hospitals across the country. A vacation bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Surya Kant had agreed to list the matter. The plea was filed on Friday in the wake of protests by doctors in West Bengal against assault on their colleagues allegedly by the relatives of a patient, who died on June 10 at a Kolkata hospital.
The petition had also sought directions to Union ministries of home affairs and health and West Bengal to depute government-appointed security personnel at all state-run hospitals to ensure safety and security of doctors. Due to the protests, healthcare services in the country have been badly disrupted and many people are dying because of absence of doctors, the plea said.
"The Indian Medical Association has supported the agitation of the doctors and has directed its members of all its state branches to stage protests and wear black badges on Friday. Many senior doctors have resigned from their government posts in order to express solidarity with the agitating doctors," the plea said. The plea had also sought directions to Bengal government to take the strictest legal and penal action against those who assaulted junior doctors at NRS Medical College Hospital in Kolkata.
"As per the study conducted by IMA, more than 75 percent of doctors across the country have faced some form of violence. This study concluded that 50 percent violent incidents took place in the Intensive Care Unit of hospitals and in 70 percent of cases, the relatives of the patients were actively involved," it said. The plea sought directions to formulate appropriate guidelines or law to ensure safety and security of doctors at government hospitals and to ensure its compliance.
"The doctors are our saviours and particularly the doctor working in government hospitals are doing great national service, particularly to the poor and downtrodden of this country, in extremely adverse circumstances," it said. Junior doctors in West Bengal were on strike since June 11, demanding better security at workplace after the attack on their colleagues in Kolkata.
The IMA declared Friday as the "All India Protest Day" and launched a three-day nationwide protest. Over 100 senior doctors of various state-run hospitals across West Bengal resigned from service. Doctors across the country went on protest to express solidarity with the doctors agitating against the attack on their colleagues in West Bengal.