Resident Doctors in Mumbai and part of Maharashtra went on mass leave protesting attacks of their colleagues at government run Sion Hospital and Dhule Civil Hospital.
After resident doctors took leave to protest frequent attacks on them by aggrieved and irate relatives of patients, it led to major disruptions in healthcare at government hospitals across the state.
The High Court's move comes as Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) continued their strike on Tuesday as it entered the fifth day today. There have been at least five attacks on resident doctors in one week, including two in the past 48 hours, said Indian Medical Association (Youth) state President Sagar Mundada.
Over 4,000 resident doctors are staying away from work since yesterday demanding better security for them at the hospitals. It has also asked them to initiate contempt action against those resident doctors who were on strike.
When MARD lawyer Prashant Pophale told the court that there have been three incidents wherein relatives of patients have brutally beaten up doctors on duty, the chief justice termed it "madness" and wondered, "Why the public anarchy?"
The Bombay high court has restrained resident doctors in the state from going on a strike till a "grievance cell" constituted by the government to look into their problems submits its report.
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"The current spate of attacks on resident doctors is worrisome".
Hearing a PIL filed by activist Afak Mandaviya seeking action against the doctors, a division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice G S Kulkarni described their behaviour as "shameful". "The moment this is implemented we will resume work and fulfil our duties", he added.
However, emergency health services, including taking care of accident patients, surgeries and providing post-operative care to those admitted in various hospitals, were being maintained by senior doctors, he said. Every case can not be due to negligence.
Dr Singhvi said the Doctors' Protection Act, 2010, has stringent provisions, but the act has not been used widely by the police in cases of violence against doctors.
Moving forward, the government will issue special visiting passes for only two relatives per patient. To which the bench said, "if you have not given the call then leave it to us, we will take necessary action against the doctors".
"If regular doctors are working, then how can the resident doctors fear for their safety", the court questioned.