The Supreme court on Monday confirmed that it will hear the plea seeking safety and security of doctors in government hospitals across the country on June 18.
A vacation bench comprising of Justices Deepak Gupta and Surya Kant agreed to list the matter for Tuesday hearing after the counsel appearing for the petitioner, advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, sought an urgent hearing of the plea which was filed on Friday in the wake of protests by doctors in West Bengal.
West Bengal has turned into a hornet’s nest after doctors from various state-run medical colleges and hospitals resigned en masse following the apathy shown by the state authorities towards the assaulted and agitating doctors of West Bengal.
Initially, the West Bengal doctors crisis began as a small protest by a group of junior doctors at the state-run SSKM Hospital after doctors and interns at the NRS Hospital were brutally attacked by a mob on the premises of the hospital because a patient named Mohammed Sayeed reportedly died of natural causes.
However, due to the state government’s insensitivity towards the assaulted doctors, the protest gradually took a nationwide dimension with doctors from all across the country pouring in with their support and raising voices of dissent against the West Bengal government.
The CM aggravated the situation by threatening the doctors and by asserting that the doctors protesting are ‘outsiders’. Following which there were mass resignations from doctors across the state. Adding insult to the injury CM Mamata Banerjee had also accused protesting doctors of hurling abuses at her.
Both the West Bengal governor and the Calcutta High court had intervened asking the CM to resolve the issue at the earliest.
Moreover, the petition filed by advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava also sought directions to Union ministries of home affairs and health and West Bengal to depute government-appointed security personnel at all state-run hospitals across the country to ensure safety and security of doctors.
Due to the protests, the healthcare services in the country have been badly disrupted and many people are dying because of the absence of doctors, the plea states.
In his PIL, Srivastava contended as per a study conducted by the Indian Medical Association (IMA), more than 75% of doctors across the country have faced at least some form of violence. This study concluded that 50 per cent of violent incidents took place in the Intensive Care Unit of hospitals, and in 70% of cases, the relatives of the patients were actively involved.
“The doctors are our saviours and particularly those working in government hospitals are doing great national service, especially to the poor and downtrodden of this country, in extremely adverse circumstances,” the petition stated.
Seeking stern proceedings in Kolkata incident, the petitioner pointed out that grave injury was being caused to the public at large due to “legislative vacuum and inaction” on the part of the government in such cases.