CHENNAI: Invoke essential services maintenance law against Tamil Nadu’s government doctors, who have been on strike for more than a fortnight objecting to quashing of in-service marks and 50% reservation in PG medical seats, said Madras high court on Friday.
A division bench of Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice V Parthiban, passing orders on a PIL that highlighted the plight of patients owing to continuing strike, summoned health secretary J Radhakrishnan and the entire top brass of state health services and told them that they should first hold talks with the striking doctors.
“You explain the circumstances and the fact that the issue is before the court. As a last resort, you take action in accordance with law,” said the judges.
Referring to media reports, the judges said several surgeries had been postponed by striking doctors who had hijacked the medical services.
To this, Radhakrishnan said only a section of doctors were on strike and added that more than 17,000 doctors were working, and 1,500 deliveries were attended to, more than four lakh outpatients and 50,000 in patients had been attended to.
When the judge asked the officer what they had done with regard to postgraduate medical course admissions issue, he said the state Act sent to the Centre had not yet been rejected. Top officers and minister had been personally pursuing it, he said.
The judges, on their part, said government hospitals were rendering yeoman services and that the strike should not cause any dent to the image. They said they could take judicial note of the strike which had been continuing for more than two weeks.
Radhakrishnan said they had created a 24X7 cell to monitor the issue and that senior doctors and administrators were at it.
A life lost cannot be retrieved, the judges said, adding that of treatment is not given in time, the golden hour might be lost. Doctors cannot conduct themselves like trade union leaders, he said.
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