Doctors abstain from work in Ranchi on Monday
Ranchi, June 26: The daylong strike by doctors in the state yesterday in response to the Indian Medical Association’s call struck a discordant note with Jharkhand High Court, which today noted that the agitation hinted at criminal negligence on the part of the medical fraternity.
Justice Alok Singh slapped notices on the health secretaries of the central and state governments as well as chief secretary S.K. Choudhary and RIMS director Tulsi Mahto, asking them to file affidavits explaining how doctors in government hospitals could go on strike and let patients suffer.
Taking cognisance of local news reports, the court suo motu initiated a public interest litigation and observed that the doctors had failed to honour their Hippocratic oath — to treat the ill to the best of one’s ability.
“Health and treatment is a basic requirement of all human beings. It is the fundamental right of every individual,” the judge said.
The court also directed the government to furnish details with regard to the number of operations and surgeries that were planned for June 25 but could not be performed.
The government will also have to give details of the doctors who were needed to be on duty yesterday and how many deaths have occurred in hospitals due to their absence.
Besides, the judge directed the advocate-general to inform whether the government was aware of the strike and what preventive steps it had taken.
The doctors are held in high esteem in society and to go on strike amounts to criminal negligence, he observed, directing the high court registry to institute the case and place it before a division bench led by the chief justice.
Around 6,000 doctors in Jharkhand went on strike, as part of a nationwide call, to protest against the National Commission for Human Resources for Health (NCHRH) bill and the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act 2010.
If the bill is enacted, an independent NCHRH on Health will be formed, which, doctors fear, will curb their autonomy and subsume various medical councils.