Doctors should not resort to strike as it affects the services rendered by them and the impact is grave as it may put the life of patients in jeopardy said the Delhi High Court on Friday while deprecating the attacks on doctors which is a major concern in the country today.
“Doctors are beaten up here if anything happens to the patient, that’s the state of affairs,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Sachin Datta said.
The high court, which was hearing a PIL seeking direction to the National Medical Commission to direct suitable action against doctors who were involved in the strike in accordance with Supreme Court’s directions, said there can be no doubt that strikes by doctors or persons of any other profession rendering service to the public, should not be resorted to as such strikes affect the services offered.
“In the case of doctors, the impact of such strike will be grave and serious as it may put the life of patients in jeopardy,” the bench said.
The bench, however, said petitioner NGO ‘People for Better Treatment’ through its President Kunal Saha has based its representation on news reports and no material on the actual incident of the strike in hospitals and patients suffering because it has been placed on record.
“In our view, before any disciplinary action could be taken against doctors, it would be necessary for the complainant to first approach the State Medical Commission with an actual grievance to enable it to take action against identified doctors who had gone on strike. Reliance placed only on news reports is not sufficient to take disciplinary action,” it said.
The court disposed of the petition with a liberty to the complainants to approach the State Medical Commission with specific complaints of actual patients suffering due to strikes by doctors employed at the hospital. The petitioner, represented through advocate Sachin Jain, sought a direction for disciplinary action against doctors who were involved in the strike in November 2021 and submitted that doctors’ strike disrupts regular hospital services bringing endless pain, suffering and death to the defenseless patients.
The plea referred to a May 2012 judgement of the Supreme Court which had held that strike by doctors may amount to negligence warranting action for misconduct and had directed that the petitioner should move the Ministry of Health against the doctors involved in the strike.
The Supreme Court in 2014 while disposing of the second PIL filed by the same petitioner NGO had held that medical councils should take appropriate disciplinary action when instances of doctors’ strikes are brought to their notice, It said.
It said hospitals across Delhi were crippled due to doctors’ strikes in November 2021 as the authorities remained absolutely silent and failed to take disciplinary action against any striking doctors even after receiving a formal complaint from the petitioner as directed by the Supreme Court.