POINTING to how the “common man” suffers when doctors of government hospitals go on strike, the Bombay High Court Monday asked the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) to clear its stand on whether it would go on strike in future to seek recourse to their grievances.
The association, for the time-being, agreed not to go on strike till the re-constituted redressal grievance cell files its report concerning their grievance against J J Hospital’s dean Dr T P Lahane, which was the reason for them going on strike for a week starting April 2.
Stating that the petition involves a wider question pertaining to the Essential Services Maintenance Act, which would be dealt with later, the court said members of the associations were working in public hospitals run by government or corporations and a strike by them led to the common man suffering.
“Cost of medical treatment in private hospitals is very high. While members of the association may have legitimate reasons for raising grievances, the question is if they can take recourse in the form of a strike. As a result of the strike, common man suffers and has to be admitted to private hospitals,” said the HC.
The court said MARD would have to take a clear stand whether they propose to take recourse to strike in future, while adding that they could take recourse to other means. The association has been asked to file an affidavit within two weeks.
Acting Advocate General Rohit Deo, meanwhile, informed the court that a retired Judge V C Daga would head the cell which will have seven members. Necessary modifications in this regard would be carried out in two days.
“The re-constituted cell will look into grievances of MARD. The association has submitted that it will not take recourse to strike until the cell submits its report relating to allegations made against the dean,” said the court.
MARD had earlier sought time for such an assurance but was pulled up by the court for this. The advocate appearing for Lahane asked for two member from MARD not to be made part of the cell, to which the HC observed, “The cell has been constituted as per suggestion of the court. In the re-constituted cell, there will be five other members. Therefore, we do not find any merit in the objections raised by the dean,” said Justice Oka.