Why should emergency services be affected during doctors' strike, asked the Supreme Court on Monday, 3 December, as it agreed to examine a plea seeking contempt proceedings against the Centre and the Indian Medical Association (IMA) for allegedly violating its order in the strike by doctors in West Bengal this year?
A bench, headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices B.R. Gavai and Surya Kant, issued notice to Centre and IMA.
The court also observed that under any circumstances, there cannot be any compromise on the treatment of critically ill patients.
The contempt plea, filed by NGO People for Better Treatment, said: "The contemnors (IMA) herein, being the largest medical group in India and the Ministry of Health, are absolutely liable for the deliberate and blatant breach and disobedience of the November, 2014 order of the Supreme Court."
The NGO's head, Kunal Shah, an AIDS researcher based in US' Ohio, cited the 2014 apex court order, where the court categorically held that doctors should not go on strike on any condition, to emphasise that the strike by doctors violated it.
The plea said the IMA was involved in the nationwide protest to express solidarity with doctors in West Bengal, and this impacted health services adversely. It contended that doctors' strike in India directly impacts defenceless patients, and leaders of IMA have turned a blind eye on it.
The contempt plea, filed by NGO People for Better Treatment “..the overtly reckless, uncaring, immoral and unlawful attitude of our medical leaders, in particular by the leaders of IMA”.
The plea said the IMA violated the top court's order by expressing solidarity with the striking doctors in Kolkata in June this year, and therefore, it amounts to a contemptuous act.
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