Nearly 4,500 resident doctors across the state resumed work on Saturday after the Bombay high court ordered the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) to immediately call off its week-long strike.
The resident doctors of the state-run Sir JJ Hospital in Byculla had started the strike on April 3 , after 12 resident doctors from the hospital’s ophthalmology department complained of mental harassment by their head of department, Dr Ragini Parekh and the hospital’s dean, Dr TP Lahane. On Friday, resident doctors from all public medical colleges in the state joined the ongoing strike.
The special holiday bench of the high court observed that it was mostly the “poor patients who approach government hospitals,” and it was they who were “the most-affected” because of the strike, and thus, directed the doctors to immediately call off the strike and resume work.
The special bench comprising justice Ranjit More and justice Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi was constituted on Saturday, a court holiday, to hear the plea filed by RTI activist Afak Mandaviya considering the “grave urgency” of the situation.
The bench took note of the fact that 13 reportedly died in JJ hospital in three days since resident doctors stalled work.
It also accepted a suggestion made by the MARD to reconstitute the existing grievance redressal committee after it complained that the committee had as one of its members, dean Dr. Lahane, the person whom the doctors had been agitating against.
The court agreed to MARD’s demand that a retired high court judge should head the reconstituted cell.The bench however, deferred the decision on the members of the reconstituted cell to Monday, the next date of hearing in the matter.
Meanwhile, Sagar Mundada, the president of MARD, said, “There appears to be some discrepancy as regards to the proceedings of the court and its written order. We are in the process of approaching the court for clarifications. We have full faith in the judiciary and have therefore suspended the strike.”
State education minister Vinod Tawde said, “According to the court directions we will act on the issue of the strike. The resident doctors at the JJ Hospital won’t be harassed any longer.”