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Supreme Court warns striking doctors
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May 30, 2006 12:05 IST
Last Updated: May 30, 2006 16:29 IST

Expressing displeasure over the agitating medicos ignoring its appeal to call off their strike, the Supreme Court on Tuesday indicated that contempt action could be initiated against them if they continued with their protest, which had left 'patients at God's mercy.'

"We are told that they (students) are continuing with the strike. If they are over-reaching our orders, they are in for a surprise. It can amount to contempt," warned a vacation Bench comprising Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice L S Panta.

They expressed displeasure over the students continuing their agitation notwithstanding the 'clear indication' given by the court that the Other Backward Classes quota issue is being examined by it.

"Surprisingly, contrary is happening. Ultimately people waiting to get treated at hospitals are being affected," the bench observed after taking suo moto note of medical students and doctors continuing with their strike.

Making it clear that the medicos cannot protest since the matter was sub-judice, the bench spoke about two judgments of the apex court to caution them.

The court said it was concerned about public interest as the patients who are admitted in hospitals were at God's mercy. "We are not concerned at this stage about the government policy. We are concerned about the plight of the people," the bench observed.

The bench also asked Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanian to file a memorandum on Wednesday giving details about the latest position regarding the strike and protest by the medicos against the government move to extend 27 per cent quota to OBCs in the institutions of higher education.

The court had on Monday appealed to the agitating students to call off their strike saying that it had decided to examine the government's move. The court questioned the basis on which government had decided to go ahead with quota as also the criteria for determining the OBCs.

The court sought a counter affidavit within eight weeks from the concerned ministries, including that of Social Justice and Empowerment, Human Resource Development, Science & Technology, Commerce, Health and Department of Statistics and Programme on the petitions filed by advocate Ashoka Kumar Thakur and Shiv Khera challenging the validity of the Constitution 93rd amendment extending reservation for OBCs.

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