The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking deployment of security in government hospitals in view of frequent assaults faced by doctors.
A Vacation Bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Surya Kant listed the matter for hearing on Tuesday.
The plea sought the court’s direction to the Centre and the West Bengal government to provide an “enabling environment”, especially security in government hospitals for doctors across the country.
A junior doctor at the NRS Hospital in Kolkata was attacked on June 10 by relatives of a patient who had died at the hospital, allegedly due to medical negligence, triggering protests by doctors in West Bengal.
On June 14, doctors across the country boycotted work as a sign of solidarity with their counterparts in West Bengal.
The petition cites media reports of a brutal attack on the junior doctor identified as Paribaha Mukherjee by the family members of a senior citizen. Paribaha sustained severe injuries in the attack.
The petition, filed by advocate Alok Srivastava, cited a study by the Indian Medical Association (IMA), stating that more than 75 per cent of doctors across the country have faced some form of violence.
This study concluded that 50 per cent violent incidents took place in the Intensive Care Unit of hospitals, and in 70 per cent of the cases, the relatives of the patients were involved.
Srivastava said the petition has been filed under Article 32 of the Constitution.
Srivastava claimed that it was his public duty to move the apex court and seek its urgent intervention to address issues which led to the strike and protests by doctors of various medical colleges and hospitals across India.
The petition sought government-appointed uniformed security personnel at every government hospital in India for the safety and security of the doctors. It also demanded strict action against the perpetrators of the attack on the doctor in West Bengal.
In the aftermath of the Kolkata incident, junior doctors in several states reportedly boycotted work affecting medical services in various parts of the country.
The Centre has also opened a front against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has pinned the blame on doctors for going on strike in the state.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has said the government is committed to ensuring the safety of the doctors.
“Doctors particularly working in government hospitals, are doing a great national service by serving the poor and downtrodden in extremely adverse circumstances,” the petition noted.