Stating that denial of medical services for whatsoever reason is a grave violation of basic human rights, the Karnataka High Court has asked the governments, administrations and the medical fraternities across the country to cooperate and ensure that public health services are not stopped even for an hour.
The HC also criticized the recent “mass resignation” of doctors that left many patients stranded and helpless for two days. The bench hearing the matter further commented that such situation must not be repeated again in the future.
The matter was brought to the judiciary’s attention N.P. Amruthesh, a Bangalore-based advocate through a PIL. Amruthesh argued in his PIL that frequent strikes called in by officials in the public healthcare system was causing a great deal of problems for the common people. He also criticized the Karnataka government for its failure to arrange adequate alternate arrangement for the suffering patients in time.
The HC observed that while the government has no rights to treat doctors as “slaves”, it should not hesitate to resort to appropriate legal actions such as suspension of doctors or leaders of their association where and when needed.
The counsel representing the government clarified that it was not right for the doctors to carry out a mass resignation because they were contractually obliged to serve for a minimum tenure. The High Court further observed that since the doctors did not call for strike and only gave their resignation, the matter will have to be scrutinized more carefully to see if it can be categorized into an indirect strike.
The next hearing on the issue has been scheduled on November 27, 2014.