New Delhi, June 14 (IANS) The issue of the safety and security of on-duty doctors reached the Supreme Court on Friday. A plea has been filed seeking the court's direction to the Centre and the West Bengal government to provide an "enabling environment" for doctors in government hospitals across the country.
A junior doctor at NRS Hospital in Kolkata was attacked on Monday by relatives of a patient who had died in the hospital, allegedly due to medical negligence, triggering protests by doctors in West Bengal. On Friday, several doctors boycotted work across the country as a sign of solidarity with their counterparts in West Bengal.
The petition cites media reports of a brutal attack on the junior doctor identified as Paribaha Mukherjee by the family members of a senior citizen. Paribaha sustained severe injuries in the attack.
The petition filed by advocate Alok Srivastava cited a study by the Indian Medical Association (IMA), stating that more than 75% of doctors across the country have faced some form of violence. This study concluded that 50% violent incidents took place in the Intensive Care Unit of hospitals, and in 70% of the cases, the relatives of the patients were involved.
Srivastava said the petition has been filed under Article 32 of the Constitution. Srivastava claimed that it was his public duty to move the apex court and seek its urgent intervention to address issues which led to the strike and protests by doctors of various medical colleges and hospitals across India.
The petition sought government-appointed uniformed security personnel at every government hospital in India for the safety and security of the doctors. It also demanded strict action against the perpetrators of the attack on the doctor in West Bengal.
In the aftermath of the Kolkata incident, junior doctors in several states reportedly boycotted work affecting medical services in various parts of the country. The Centre has also opened a front against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has pinned the blame on doctors for going on strike in the state. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has said the government is committed to ensuring the safety of the doctors.
"Doctors particularly working in government hospitals, are doing a great national service by serving the poor and downtrodden in extremely adverse circumstances," the petition noted.