Doctor Shortage: HC asks Maha Govt to consider allowing civil hospital doctors to treat jail inmates
Mumbai: In order to overcome the shortage of doctors, the Bombay High Court recently asked the Maharashtra government to consider allowing doctors from civil hospitals to visit jail hospitals regularly on rotation.
A circular was earlier issued by the prison authorities which instructed the doctors of a nearby civil hospital to visit the jail on regular basis but it was not implemented strictly. The court while seeking a copy of the circular also directed the dean of the hospitals to follow the order.
The court further asked the state to prioritise vaccination of inmates over 45 years of age. It also sought the measures being taken to maintain social distancing among prisoners to ensure healthcare for first-time offenders who have resorted to crime after losing jobs in lockdown and had no means of livelihood.
The bench observed,
"There could be first-time offenders, driven by penury, to commit offences. Putting them in jail is not going to solve any problem…"
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Deepak Dutta and Girish Kulkarni was addressing a Suo Moto PIL filed with reports of an increase in the number of COVID victims in Maharashtra Jail.
HC asked the State,
"Can there be an arrangement of visitor doctor who could go for two hours? You have so many doctors, send them on rotation."
"The frequency of visit of doctors should increase and this decision (circular) should be properly implemented…,"
Appreciating measures taken by the prison department to decongest jails, the HC suggested that more temporary jails should be set up, reports The Indian Express.
"Why not change colonial rules of jail manual wherein civic hospitals cannot treat and admit jail inmates."
After the state assured the bench of responding to its queries and suggestions within a week, the PIL was posted for the next hearing on June 10.