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Doctors resorting to strike illegal, can face contempt: Delhi HC

February 21, 2011 20:13 IST
The Delhi high court on Monday held that doctors of government hospitals are not allowed to go on strike and directed the All India Institute of Medical Sciences authorities to find out and punish those medical practitioners who had resorted to such a method of protest in recent years.

A bench of Chief Justice Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said medical practitioners resorting to strike, protests or demonstrations would amount to contempt of court. "The doctors, residents, interns, para medical staff and any other person connected with AIIMS could not have gone on strike and therefore their said action is declared illegal," the bench said.

The court ordered the management of the premier institute to identify doctors who had participated in a 17-day strike in protest against OBC reservation in educational institutions in 2006 and a two-day demonstration in 2007 against the removal of its then director P Venugopal.

"The president of AIIMS shall constitute a high-powered committee to conduct an inquiry to find out who were the persons who participated in the earlier strikes and thereafter on such identification proceed against them as per law," the bench said.

 The court passed the order on a public interest litigation seeking action against the doctors who had participated in the strike and refused to give treatment to patients in the hospital. "It is obligatory on the part of the authorities of the AIIMS to see that no one involved in the institution shows any kind of deviancy by taking recourse to strike, protests or demonstrations and he who engages himself in such activity would be liable for disciplinary proceeding and also for contempt of this court," the court further said.

The court also pulled up the AIIMS authorities for maintaining that there is no record of the striking doctors and many of them have already left the institute.

"The authorities of the AIIMS cannot get away by taking a specious plea or a mercurial stand that though there was a strike, yet they are not aware who were actually involved in the strike," the court said while directing the president of the institute to constitute a committee to find out the erring doctors.
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