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Monday, June 21, 2021

‘We’ll fail in duty if doctors not protected from assaults, they are saving society’: Bombay HC

HC also directs state to ensure special masks for speech and audio impaired persons

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: May 13, 2021 6:28:16 pm
Bombay HCThe Court will hear the PILs next on May 19 (File Photo)

The Bombay High Court on Thursday said that the doctors and other medical service providers, who are “working tirelessly” during pandemic times, are required to be protected by the authorities.

The Court also directed the state government to provide details of the complaints or FIRs registered pertaining to assault on doctors and medical staff. “We have to protect doctors, and medical services providers at this hour, especially when they are tirelessly working for us under stress. As a responsible state, we will fail in our duty if we do not protect them… It is of paramount interest. They are saving society.”

The HC also said that the doctors cannot be made “scapegoats” for lack of drugs or oxygen supply by the authorities.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni was hearing a PIL filed by Dr Rajeev Digambar Joshi, argued through advocate Nitin Deshpande, pertaining to the safety of doctors across Maharashtra highlighting instances of assault on doctors by the kin of patients.

The plea said that Maharashtra witnesses a maximum number of such instances of violence and said that the state government had failed to implement legal provisions, including those under the Maharashtra Medical Service Persons and Medical Service Institutions Act, 2010, to prevent such instances.

Additional Public Prosecutor F R Shaikh for the state government submitted that the 2010 Act and the Indian Penal Code are being enforced in cases of relatives or acquaintances of patients assaulting doctors and hospital staff.

The court also asked the state government to comply with its earlier assurance made before the High Court in 2016 pertaining to police protection in hospitals and asked the state government to inform about the status of implementation of the same.

The bench asked the association of doctors and medical consultants to give their suggestions for effective implementation of the legal provisions and asked the government to respond to the same by Tuesday, May 18.

The Court also heard a PIL filed by Lokshahiwadi Balasaheb Sarode Smriti Prabodhan Upakram, argued through advocates Asim Sarode and Ajinkya Udane, seeking proper disposal of medical waste and also sought direction to the state to provide special masks for the speech and audio impaired people for their identification.

The HC directed the state government to ensure all district collectors and municipal commissioners proper disposal of Covid medical waste including masks and PPE kits across all hospitals in Maharashtra.

The bench stressed on a need for the local authorities to strictly abide by and implement guidelines stipulated by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for disposal of masks and PPE kits.

The HC also directed the authorities to consider putting in place a system for distribution of special masks for speech and audio impaired, after the petitioner informed that while the state has claimed that it has arranged for such special masks, there was no system in place for effective distribution to eligible persons.

The bench also suggested that it is the right time to implement the Anti-begging Act, to prevent spread of pandemic and provide rehabilitation to the beggars as per law.

The Court will hear the PILs next on May 19.

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