Mumbai: Bringing a strong relief to to medical practitioners across the state of Maharashtra, the Bombay High Court recently granted a stay on their inclusion in the Shops and Establishments Act 2017
It is reported that challenging the applicability and implementation of the Maharashtra Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 2017 insofar as medical practitioners are concerned, Indian Medical Association (IMA), Maharashtra State had knocked the doors of The Bombay High Court filing a writ petition with them. Doctors pointed out that the provisions of the new act is in sharp contrast with the previous numerous court judgments that implied that individual medical practitioners cannot be considered as commercial establishments
Doctors were also opposing the applicability of the Act, 2017, where all establishments, including medical practitioners and their establishments, employing 10 or more employees were required to get themselves registered on or before 5th November, 2017 failing which they would face prosecution before a criminal court.
The history of the said act goes way back. The Bombay Shops and Establishments Act, 1948 was initially made applicable to shops and commercial establishments. However, in the year 1977, the State Government of Maharashtra amended the Bombay Shops and Establishments Act, 1948 with a view to including all professionals, including medical practitioners, within the ambit of the Bombay Shops and Establishments Act, 1948. It is reported that one Dr. Kavita Tilwani, Gynaecologist and Obstetrician, had challenged the amendment before the Bombay High Court. The Bombay High Court, vide its order dated 10/07/2017, struck down the amendment as unconstitutional insofar its applicability to medical practitioners and their establishments was concerned.
However, when the government of Maharashtra introduced the Maharashtra Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2017 in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, the new bill categorically includes Doctors and Hospitals in the definition of establishment with the the State Government trying to apply the provisions thereof to medical practitioners and their establishments if they employ 10 of more than employees.
Now, through a decision headed by a division bench of the Bombay High Court comprising Justice S. S. Kemkar and Justice G. S. Kulkarni, the high court has given a stay in the matter. The matter has been adjourned for 4 weeks.