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Treated as bonded labourers, 14 junior doctors tell Bombay high court

They have sought directions of authorities to frame a timetable, which will enable them to get their daily quota of sleep.

mumbai Updated: Aug 29, 2018 00:17 IST
Hindustan Times
mumbai news,labourers,Bombay high court
The petition says that as these doctors are junior doctors, they are treated as bonded labourers and are forced to work for 36 hours at a stretch. (Representational Image )

Fourteen junior doctors working in government hospitals as resident medical officers (RMO) have approached the Bombay high court (HC), complaining about sleep deprivation due to their duty schedule.

They have sought directions of authorities to frame a timetable, which will enable them to get their daily quota of sleep.

The petition by the doctors was filed after the Supreme Court directed them to approach the Bombay HC, seeking implementation of a 2017 order.

The 2017 order had directed the state and authorities to frame guidelines, but as nothing came of it, the doctors approached the SC. The SC allowed doctors to approach it again if their grievances were not resolved by the Bombay HC. According to advocate Chiranjeet Chanderpal, who filed the writ petition on behalf of the doctors, the petitioning doctors are pursuing post-graduate degrees or diplomas and are serving as RMOs in various government and civic hospitals.

The petition says that as these doctors are junior doctors, they are treated as bonded labourers and are forced to work for 36 hours at a stretch.

It further draws a comparison of the work schedule for junior doctors in the United Kingdom, where work hours are fixed for junior doctors with proper breaks, not only for doctors, but other hospital staff too. Referring to spate of attacks on doctors by relatives of patients, the petition states that in absence of lack of proper facilities for patients, the junior doctors bear the brunt of the public. Pointing to the harsh bond clause of ₹20 lakh, which they have to enter into for two years, the doctors have no option, but to comply with inhumane working conditions. This leads to the junior doctors having to sacrifice family life, which violates their fundamental right to life.

The petition was mentioned before the bench of justice BR Gavai and justice MS Karnik. It is scheduled for further hearing on September 11.

First Published: Aug 29, 2018 00:16 IST