'Strike by doctors illegal, could face contempt case' | delhi | Hindustan Times
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'Strike by doctors illegal, could face contempt case'

In a significant judgment that will benefit thousands of patients undergoing treatment at prestigious institutions like AIIMS and other government hospitals in the Capital, the Delhi high court on Monday ordered strict disciplinary action against doctors who go on strike. Harish V Nair reports.

delhi Updated: Feb 21, 2011 23:37 IST
Harish V Nair

In a significant judgment that will benefit thousands of patients undergoing treatment at prestigious institutions like AIIMS and other government hospitals in the Capital, the Delhi high court on Monday ordered strict disciplinary action against doctors who go on strike.

The court made it clear that strikes by doctors were illegal, violating repeated court orders and were liable to contempt action.

The court ordered the AIIMS director to constitute a high powered committee to conduct an inquiry and find out doctors who participated in earlier strikes and order action against them.

"All concerned with AIIMS must dedicate and devote themselves for its excellence keeping in mind that health of the citizens is the wealth of the nation and the same cannot be allowed to be jeopardized…errant doctors and authorities will be visited with court contempt," ruled a Bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra.

"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 in such activity would be liable for disciplinary proceeding," the bench added.

"Patients are the most important element. Doctors' grievances or any other thing come only later. AIIMS doctors cannot go on strike and action against them needs to be taken under the law," said the court.

The court ordered the management of the country's 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 court passed the order on a PIL seeking action against the doctors who had participated in the strike between 2006 and 2007 and refused to give treatment to patients in the hospital.