SC refuses to stay nation-wide doctors' strike

Doctors strike
New Delhi, Jun 25: The Supreme Court today refused to stay the day-long nation-wide strike called by the Indian Medical Association to protest against certain reforms initiated by the Central Government in the medical field. A bench of justices HL Gokhale and Gyan Sudha Misra, however, hoped the doctors would desist from going ahead with the proposed strike in the interest of the general public.

"We find force in the submission made by senior counsel MN Krishnamani that the strike would cause serious difficulties to the people. We expect that the doctors would not go on strike," the bench observed.

The apex court felt that it was too late to stay the strike as it would be difficult to ensure compliance but issued notice to the Centre on the petitioners' plea that the doctors going on strike would be illegal and unconstitutional. The apex court also asked senior counsel TS Dhobia, appearing for the Centre, as to why the government failed to take any preventive steps despite the petitioners making a representation to it.

"Why don't you respond? They (petitioners) had earlier made a representation for preventing the strike. You could have acted," the bench observed. The Centre's counsel merely stated that the strike was impermissible and the government was not in favour of it. The apex court was hearing a petition by an NGO, People for Better Treatment (PBT), opposing the doctors' strike and seeking it to be declared as illegal.

PBT has submitted to the apex court that the proposed strike violates, apart from the Hippocrates Oath, several other provisions in the Medical Council of India (MCI). The Indian Medical Association (IMA) had called the strike to protest against the Union.


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