Doctors' safety in government hospitals: Supreme Court to hear petition tomorrow

Vikas SV

New Delhi, June 17: The Supreme Court will hear the petition that seeks direction to appoint security personnel at all government hospitals across the country to ensure safety and security of the doctors on Tuesday.

Doctors across West Bengal were on a strike since June 11 after two of their colleagues were brutally assaulted at the NRS Medical College and Hospital by the family members of a patient, who died on June 10 night. Later, doctors from across the country came out in support and protests were staged in different cities in the nation. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) then announced a strike on June 17 (today) with withdrawal of non-essential health services across the country in the wake of the recent assault on doctors in West Bengal.

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In the wake of protests by doctors in West Bengal against assault on their colleagues, a plea was filed in the Supreme Court on Friday seeking to ensure safety and security of doctors in government hospitals across the country. The petition sought directions to Union ministries of home affairs and health as also West Bengal to depute government appointed security personnel at all government hospitals across the country to ensuring safety and security of the doctors.

A vacation bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Surya Kant agreed to list the matter for Tuesday after the counsel appearing for the petitioner, advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, sought urgent hearing.

The plea, filed by advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava, also sought directions to the West Bengal government to take strictest legal and penal action against the attackers who assaulted junior doctors at NRS Medical College Hospital, Kolkata, on June 10.

IMA's announcement came a day after Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan asked states to consider enacting specific legislation for protecting doctors and medical professionals from any form of violence.

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IMA, however, demanded a comprehensive central law in dealing with violence on doctors and healthcare staff, and in hospitals. Security measures and the determinants leading to violence should also be addressed, it said in a statement. Exemplary punishment for perpetrators of violence should be a component of the central law and suitable amendments should be brought in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), the IMA said.

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