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HC asks state what action was taken against doctors on strike

The Bombay High Court rapped the Maharashtra government on Wednesday for its failure to deal with the strike of doctors in government hospitals due to which several patients died during the past week, according to a Public Interest litigation (PIL).

The court asked the Maharashtra government to file an affidavit within two weeks stating whether departmental action had been initiated against doctors who had struck work from July 1 to 7, depriving patients of treatment.
The directive was given by a bench headed by Justice Naresh Patil after a PIL alleged that the state had failed to provide a mechanism to provide treatment to patients in Maharashtra government hospitals during the strike.

The PIL alleged that during the strike, more than nine lakh patients waited in queue for treatment but did not get any response from doctors, due to which 80 patients died.

The petitioner, advocate Gunratan Sadavarte, cited a Supreme Court judgement which said that strikes are bad in law, a Delhi High Court verdict which described strikes as illegal as well as Jharkhand High Court judgement which said that strikes amount to anti-national activity.

The High Court asked the state of Maharashtra to respond to five issues and file an affidavit on what was its stand on the death of 80 patients, as allegedly by the PIL, what preventive steps it took to tackle the strike, what action was taken against doctors under the Essential Services and Maintenance Act (ESMA), how many surgeries were postponed during the strike and whether compensation had been paid to the kin of those who died.

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