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HC glare on doctors who stayed away

Jharkhand High Court on Wednesday directed the state government and Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) to furnish a detailed report on the doctors’ strike last year, mentioning the action taken against medical practitioners who failed to report for work on June 25, 2012.

A bench of Justices D.N. Patel and S. Chandrashekhar was hearing a public interest litigation initiated by the high court on its own. The bench ordered RIMS to detail the doctors who were on duty on the day and who stayed away.

The court had earlier sought the number of deaths that occurred on the day of the strike, to which the government informed that there were 17 deaths in the hospital on the fateful day. The bench then queried from RIMS and the state whether the deaths could have been avoided if the doctors were not on strike.

Taking cognisance of news reports, the high court initiated the PIL suo motu and observed that the doctors failed to honour their oath of treating the ill to the best of their ability. “Health and treatment is a basic requirement of all human beings. It is the fundamental right of every individual,” the court said.

Doctors in the state observed a day’s strike on the call of the IMA to protest against the National Council for Human Resources in Health Bill, 2011 and the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act 2010. According to the bill if enacted, an independent National Council for Human Resources on Health (NCHRH) will be formed.