Kolkata Doctors’ Strike: Calcutta HC urges Government and Doctors to reconcile in the interest of patients [Read Order]

Kolkata Doctors’ Strike: Calcutta HC urges Government and Doctors to reconcile in the interest of patients [Read Order]

The Calcutta High Court on Friday declined to pass interim orders in a PIL filed in the wake of the ongoing doctors’ strike in Calcutta, save for calling on the Government and the protesting doctors to jointly resolve the issues that have emerged.

The Bench of Chief Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Justice Suvra Ghosh has suggested that the Government take measures to resolve the grievances raised by the striking doctors and thereby persuade them to resume work. Further, the Bench has also appealed that the doctors take up a reconciliatory approach in the larger interest of their patients.

As stated in the order,

… we take this opportunity to state that resolution of disputes which would have arisen as a consequence of certain unfortunate events even in the hospital is not to be countered by action of eminent and well informed people like doctors by keeping away from their primary and fundamental duty to serve the people.

Be that as it may, the State Government has also to ensure that the grievance of the doctors, particularly in relation to certain incidents which are alleged to have occurred, are addressed in accordance with law without any delay… “

The strike was sparked off after two junior doctors of the NRS Medical College and Hospital were attacked by a mob on June 10 following the death of a patient.

In solidarity, doctors across the state commenced a strike earlier this week, demanding that the government implement steps to ensure the safety and security of doctors against such attacks.

The protests continued on Friday, despite ultimatums to end the strike by the Mamata Banerjee-led Government. The West Bengal Governor, KN Tripathi, is also reported to have appealed to the doctors to halt their strike and resume their duties. The strike also assumed political undertones as Chief Minster Mamata Banerjee accused opposition parties of having inciting the strike, while opposition parties countered that Banerjee was politicising the issue.

As the deadlock continued Dr Kunal Saha, President of the NGO People for Better Treatment, approached the Calcutta High Court to intervene in the matter.

The Court, however, declined to grant any interim relief as of yet. However, it has urged the government and doctors to put aside their differences and work at resolving the deadlock. The Court said,

“… we do not propose to proceed with the matter as an adversarial litigation. However, we need to provide appropriate push with requisite grease to ensure that the on going strike by a section of doctors comes to an end through governmental intervention by way of persuasion or otherwise, in accordance with law.

We do so because, within the parameters of Article 21 of the Constitution of India, ‘human rights’ as understood in the civilised societies and recognised in the international domain through terms of international conventions, which bind different nations, it is the fundamental requirement that the right to health is given top priority and any need for medical help is immediately extended to any human being even if he is not a citizen.”

The Court also took note of the State’s submission that it has arrested certain persons for the mob attack on the junior doctors. In view of the same, the Bench has called on the doctors to adopt a reconciliatory approach in the interest of upholding their ethical duties.

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