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Illegal For Doctors to go on strike : High Court

Illegal For Doctors to go on strike : High Court

Lucknow : Coming down hard on the doctors under the King George Medical University (KGMU) who had gone on strike to oppose new changes in the PG admissions in the state, the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has asked the authorities to penalize the striking doctors for causing undue harassment to patients.

Read Also: Uttar Pradesh: Statewide strike of residents opposing new UPPGMEE merit list

The doctors have been directed to Rs 25 lakhs compensation each to the families of all those who died during the duration of the strike, allegedly due to doctors absence/negligence. In this regard,  the court has directed the state government to form a high level committee to probe the matter within two months, and if found that the deaths have resulted due to the strike, Rs 25 lakh each will be given to the families of the deceased as compensation and the same shall be deducted from the salaries/stipend/allowances of the striking doctors.

The court with the order, seemed to have taken a very strong view of doctors going on strike

The paramount fundamental duty of a doctor is to administer treatment to an ailing person and make all endeavour to save his/her life and get him/ her well. If a doctor refuses to attend a patient, prima facie, it is a serious professional misconduct. We can understand that sometimes there may be just and valid causes which may not be acceptable in general to all or some of the doctors, and they may have a right to take steps for redressal of their grievance but those steps cannot include denial or refusal on the part of a doctor to attend his medical duties or treatment of patients. Whatever terminology may be used, whether strike or protest or abstention from duty or anything else but the fact remains that a doctor is bound by his medical oath and also principle of his profession that he or she must attend a patient whenever required and make best possible efforts for his/her medical treatment.

The court is further to have imply that the doctors in public funded institutions have no legal or otherwise right to go on strike.

Doctors in State Medical Colleges, Government Hospitals and similar other institutions funded by State from public exchequer have no legal or other right to deny to discharge their duties as doctor i.e. administration of medical treatment etc. to the patients. Any such action on their part would be patently illegal and would justify a serious action against them as permissible in law which would include denial of salary or allowance or honorarium etc. as the case may be. Further such activities of abstention, protest, strike etc. amounts to a serious misconduct justifying major penalty and also criminal and tortuous liability if any patient suffer on account of such action of such a doctor.

Passing an order in response to a PIL against the strike, the court was also found directing the state to come up with stricter policies ( linking strikes to appraisals) to deter doctors from going on strike in future stating that doctors in public funded institutions have no legal right to strike .

The court has hence directed the following:-

  1.  State Government shall constitute a High Powered Committee headed by a Judicial Officer not below the rank of Additional Legal Remembrancer from Legal Remembrancer Department, to conduct an inquiry and submit its report positively within two months of its constitution finding out whether any patient in State Medical Colleges/ Hospitals have died since 30th May, 2016 till today i.e. 2nd June, 2016 on account of protest/ abstention from duty/ strike etc. of doctors working therein. The aforesaid committee shall be constituted within a week from today. If any death has occurred Government shall provide compensation to legal heirs of victims, by paying a sum of Rs. 25,00,000/-(Twenty Five Lacs).
  2. The amount of compensation, paid above, shall be recovered from the salaries/allowances etc., as the case may be, of doctors going on protest/abstention from duty/ strike etc.
  3. The Principals of State Medical Colleges, as well as Vice Chancellor, King Gorge Medical University, Lucknow shall identify doctors who have gone on strike protest/abstention from duty etc. and they shall be administered a serious recordable warning besides denial of salary/ allowances/ honorarium, as the case may be, and their period of training etc., shall be extended by the aforesaid period of non-working.
  4. In future, if any doctor of State Medical Colleges or Government hospitals or Government Medical Services, whatever name or title it is called, proceed to observe strike/protest/ agitation/abstention from duty etc., he/she shall immediately be identified and a permanent appraisal record of such doctors shall be created by placing on record his/ her such conduct and admonition thereto. If, such conduct has also resulted in any mortality the same shall also be noted therein. The said record of doctor shall also be placed on a website constituted for the purpose, for knowledge of people at large. It shall also be communicated to Medical Council of India for considering cancellation/ revocation or suspension of license to practice.
  5. Besides above, criminal and tortious action by appropriate authority/victim would/may be open to be taken against such erring doctors.
  6. Government shall also take disciplinary action by treating the aforesaid conduct as serious misconduct justifying major penalty.
  7. This policy decision and guideline shall be formulated and communicated to all the doctors at the time of entering the service and those who are already in service shall be communicated within three months from today.
  8. A report of compliance of this order shall be submitted to the court under personal affidavit of Principal Secretary, Medical Health and Family Welfare as well as Secretary, Medical Education, by 10th September, 2016.

Following is the full order.

9 comment(s) on Illegal For Doctors to go on strike : High Court

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  1. Any one can give his/ her opinion regarding a govt. order, but refusing to see a patient is not the way. IF IT IS MY OWN RELATION won\’t I attend to him immediately? If people are doing wrong things and helping the corrupt , a petition can be sent to the govt, giving reasons to support your claim or else the leaders should approach the court.

  2. Then the court should review the problems faced by doctors on a yearly basis address and order the state and central governments to take corrective measures and ensure the implementation of the same

  3. This order is ridiculous!! It has been seen time and again that Doctors are being denied basic rights in the form of Resident quarters, assault by patients, inhuman working hours, paltry salaries. I suggest to every Mbbs student to please find another country to pursue your post graduation. When the Government turns a blind eye to issues concerning these doctors, how else do they make their voices heard? I suggest the courts make strict laws against assault on doctors to deliver speedy justice and deter future such attacks. The court seems to be forgetting that we are human beings and citizens of this country too. Let’s penalize the engineers for every collapsed bridge. Let’s penalize the courts for every decision that takes years. Let us impose such heavy fines and permanent expulsion for every politician, government employee who takes a bribe. Let us publicly shame each one of them. Why is it that only doctors are being held up to their oaths? Why is nobody else held accountable? To every student who reads this I say, if you have a passion for medicine, flee this country. For here neither will u get the respect or the freedom. If u want to serve your country, you will need a thick skin and a strong mind. To continue to serve while being Continually abused by the people, the institutions and government. Get ready for a struggle. If u can’t, then run. Run away.

  4. Hello.. Supreme court in plethora of judgments have decided against the strike and Full Bench has already held incase of lawyers that Lawyers have no right to go on strike and it’s a serious misconduct. It may cost the registration certificate for Lawyers.
    So I think Drs will hardly get any relief in SC.
    We have experienced the wrath of High Court when last Lawyers in Pune and Kolhapur were on strike for a demand of High Court Bench. Ultimately we had to apologise, as contempt notices were issued. What we learnt that it needs a political and public backing….
    But if you give an alternative and explain the problems of Drs then Court shall always consider it and can give appropriate directions to Govt.
    Merely venting opinions on Social media is of no use.

  5. Amazing standards! “You cannot protest. If you do, you shall be penalized. You have no option to get your views heard. You have no rights. You will be beaten, abused, by the public, jailed and penalized by the administration and the judiciary, humiliated by the fact that no action will be taken against those who ill-treat you. WE shall decide all issues with respect your pay, work conditions, working hours, what punishment to give you in case of an act of God…We shall not take any steps to right any wrongs against you, however, you are expected to slave even if you are underpaid, overworked, assaulted……
    Standards of behavior are different for you.”
    Doctros are an endangered species and shall soon be extinct. All that will be left are medical care consultants on the other side of a computer terminal. Have a care India!

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