A plea seeking the Supreme Court’s intervention to tackle the shortage of doctors in Bihar, in the wake of deaths following the Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) outbreak, prompted Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Friday to remark that there was also a shortage of ministers, MPs, water and even sunlight and the court could not be expected to address all these.
The remarks came when the court was hearing a clutch of petitions which pointed to the deficiencies in medical services in the state in the wake of the outbreak and consequent deaths. “There is also a shortage of judges which we are trying to address. There is also a shortage of doctors and nurses, ministers, MPs, water and sunlight. Now you want us to do this?…Forget it,” the CJI said.
The bench, also comprising Justice Deepak Gupta, refused to keep the matter pending and asked the petitioners to approach the Patna High Court to redress their grievances.
As one of the petitioners persisted with his argument that there was a 57 per cent shortage of doctors, the CJI added “encephalitis has broken out. Is anyone doing it intentionally?…Encephalitis is a disease. The state has said it is taking steps.”
The petitioners had contended that the state and the Centre were neglecting the deaths of children occurring “due to unavailability of medicines, proper care and lack of intensive care units in the hospitals of the area.”