Doctors have a solemn duty towards humanity: Madhya Pradesh High Court declares strike by junior doctors illegal

5th June, 2021

Doctors have a solemn duty towards humanity: Madhya Pradesh High Court declares strike by junior doctors illegal



The strike by the Junior Physicians Association (JUDA) in Madhya Pradesh has been declared illegal by the Madhya Pradesh High Court, and the doctors have been ordered to resume their jobs immediately (Shailendra Singh v. State of MP & others). A bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Sujoy Paul wrote in their decision, "All doctors have a solemn responsibility to mankind. This responsibility obligates them to assist residents who are afflicted with any disease. In the current situation, this obligation necessitates them to join forces with all citizens in the battle against the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic." JUDA members, who are postgraduate students in several disciplines of medicine, decided to stop working on May 31 in order to demand a raise in their stipend from Rs.55,000 to Rs.59,000. After several cases in which they were assaulted by attendants and family members of patients, younger doctors demanded proper security at their employment. Another demand was that if they or their family members were infected with COVID-19, they and their family members should be treated for free in the same hospital where they work. The order came in response to a petition asking for action to be taken against members of JUDA who, by striking, were in violation of the High Court's previous rulings prohibiting medical officials linked to government hospitals and medical colleges in Madhya Pradesh from striking. When the case was heard, the Court, as well as JUDA's Advocates Rishi Shrivastava and Sidharth R Gupta, tried to urge the striking doctors to talk to the state officials. Despite the encouragement, the doctors refused to call off the strike, and JUDA office bearers reiterated that they would only engage in talks with the government if their demands were granted, according to the Court. JUDA members had stopped delivering services to patients in COVID-19 wards, according to the Court. Emergency services in all hospitals have been shut down as a result of the strike, according to the Court. Despite the fact that the Essential Services Maintenance Act has been enacted in the State, the government has yet to take any disciplinary action against the petitioners, according to counsel for the petitioner.