Health services in Madhya Pradesh remained affected today as the strike of junior doctors attached to government hospitals continued on the third day, even as the High Court termed it “illegal”. A division bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court, comprising Justices R S Jha and Mohammad Fahim Anwar, said, “This court has already prohibited all medical officers
working in government hospitals and medical colleges from going on or continuing with any strike by order dated January 31, 2014.”
The court was hearing a petition filed by a patient named Pyarelal, seeking an order to junior doctors to call off the strike.
“It is further directed that the authority concerned shall take action in accordance with the Act of 1979 (Essential Services Maintenance Act)…,” the bench said.
“Since this court in the present petition as well as in other cases has already issued similar directions, any such strike…shall be treated to be illegal and necessary appropriate action in that regard shall be taken by the authorities concerned,” the bench ruled.
“…all these medical officers, staff and others shall resume their duties forthwith, failing which necessary action can be taken against them, not just by the state but also by the court,” the judges said.
The bench ruled, “We also direct the chief secretary of the state to issue necessary orders to ensure compliance of the directions issued by this court.” Madhya Pradesh Junior Doctors Association’s Indore chapter president Dr Kripashankar Tiwari told PTI that the strike continued on the third day today, even as the government terminated the services of 24 doctors who are office-bearers of the association.
The association will review the high court’s order and seek legal remedies, he added. He accused the state government of double standard.
“On one hand, the government refused to increase our stipend terming us students, but they also invoked the ESMA, treating us as government employees,” he said.
The junior doctors are on strike demanding increase in stipend. Yesterday, around 1,200 junior doctors from government hospital-cum-medical colleges at Bhopal, Gwalior, Indore, Jabalpur and Rewa had resigned.
Minister of State for Health Sharad Jain said the high court has issued necessary directives, and he will not comment on the issue.