Taking suo motu cognizance of the five-day-long doctors’ strike which is paralysing the medical facility in the state, the Allahabad High Court Wednesday ordered the state government to transfer the officials, including Kanpur SSP Yashashwi Yadav, involved in the February 28 police action against medicos of GSV Medical College. The state government, on the other hand, invoked Essential Services Maintenance Act in the state to bring the situation under control.
Appointing senior advocate Jagdish Narain Mathur as the amicus curiae in the case, the court observed that any strike henceforth may amount to contempt of court, punishable under the law, thereby bringing the Indian Medical Association’s call for a country-wide boycott of OPD services on Thursday under scanner.
The court has also asked for the state-constituted inquiry commission’s probe report on the police action following a clash between the undergraduate students of GSVM and the Samajwadi Party MLA Irfan Solanki. The court gave Justice Chauhan’s commission three weeks’ time to submit its report.
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In directing the state government to transfer the police officials while the model code of conduct has come into place, the court had to overrule the provision which requires the state, under the circumstances, to seek permission from the Election Commission of India. The court was of the view that the gravity of the situation demands that the officials are transferred elsewhere.
It also reminded the doctors of their Hippocratic Oath and “requested” the junior doctors to resume their duty while also permitting their association to intervene in the matter before the court. The court has fixed March 10 as the next hearing date.
Meanwhile, a team of representatives from the IMA and GSVM students met Mulayam Singh Yadav. “He has assured us that he will talk to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and asked us to take care of the patients. The strike, though, will continue,” Dr Ravi Mehra, State President of IMA, told The Indian Express.
Confirming the invoking of ESMA in the state, Principal Secretary of Medical Education B S Bhullar said: “We have asked the doctors to join duty with immediate effect.”
Kanpur DM Roshan Jacob said that while the government hospitals remained functional and emergency services were also in place, the strike continued and the 24 medical students against whom FIRs of rioting, loot and other criminal offence have been registered, remained in jail in spite of getting bail. The students, who were sent to judicial custody, were granted bail by the court on Monday but refused to sign the personal bonds required for the bail.
The KGMU Teachers’ Association’s governing body, which met Wednesday, also decided to give en masse resignation if the matter is not resolved within 48 hours, informed Dr Naim Ahmad, the association’s general secretary. The faculty members of the GSVM as well as resident doctors of Agra Medical College have already submitted en masse resignation in protest against the police action.