Medical Services Cannot be Denied Even for an Hour: High court

  • The Karnataka High Court on Monday said medical services at government hospitals and health centres should not be shut even for an hour
  • Both the State government and the doctors serving at different levels of the public health system should work to ensure this.
  • The human rights of the common people were violated when medical services were denied to them for two days due to the mass resignation of doctors.
  • Such a situation should not recur in future, a Bench comprising Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice Budihal R.B. said orally.
  • The Bench, hearing a PIL petition filed by city-based-advocate N.P. Amruthesh pointing out ill-effects of frequent strikes by the government medical officers, was of the view that the government should not have waited till the last minute to make alternative arrangements at primary health centres.
  • Since the government had said that the Essential Services Maintenance Act had lapsed in 2004 and it could not invoke its provisions against doctors as per earlier directions of the court,the Bench questioned what the alternatives the government had at its disposal to deal with an emergency.
  • While observing that doctors cannot be treated like slaves of the government, the Bench made it clear that the government, at the same time, should not hesitate to initiate legal action,
  • The government counsel clarified to the Bench that it could not have accepted all the 911 resignations received from the doctors, as some had no right to resign as they had contractual agreement to serve for a minimum duration.
  • The Bench adjourned further heating to November 27, asking the government, the doctors’ association and the petitioner to come out with legal suggestions so that it could formulate directions to ensure that people should not suffer due to the differences between the doctors and the government.