Essential Services Maintenance Act (Esma) was invoked against striking doctors in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday. The act includes "essential services" in its charter and prohibits key employees in these services from striking.
Earlier, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court on Wednesday took suo moto cognisance of the ongoing strike of doctors in the state and ordered a judicial probe into the matter.
Seeking to know from the state government about the action taken so far, the court also ordered the transfer of the inspector general, deputy inspector general and senior superintendent of police Kanpur.
The bench of justice Imtiyaz Murtaza and DK Upadhyaya ordered the formation of a judicial inquiry commission to look into the entire set of events at the Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi Medical College in Kanpur on February 28.
The court also asked the striking doctors to immediately return to work.
Earlier, leader of opposition in the state assembly, Swamy Prasad Maurya, met the protesting doctors and alleged that the state was in the grip of 'goondaraj'. He blamed the chief minister for the deaths of patients during the strike.
"At a time when the doctors are being beaten up by police and the patients are dying, the chief minister is busy protecting his MLA and pet officials," the BSP leader said.
Junior doctors in many parts of the state are observing a strike since March 1 after a scuffle with a Samajwadi Party legislator from Kanpur led to a series of cane charges, police raids on hostels and mass resignations by doctors across the state.