Karnataka HC asks private doctors to end strike, resume services

Karnataka HC asks private doctors to end strike, resume services

Karnataka High Court passed an interim order on Friday reiterating its request to the private doctors to withdraw their ongoing strike.

Hearing a PIL, a division bench comprising acting Chief Justice HG Ramesh and Justice PS Dinesh Kumar directed private medical establishments and practitioners to restore their services with immediate effect.

The right to life is a fundamental human right and every individual is entitled to medical treatment under Article 21 (protection of life and fundamental liberty), the bench said.

The court can hear the doctors' grievances regarding the controversial KPME Bill any time, but the damage done to the patients due to their strike is irreversible, the bench reminded the striking medics.

While hearing the argument, Justice Ramesh said there is no need for doctors to take to the streets since the law can be challenged if it is found arbitrary. The Supreme Court had struck down many Constitutional amendments in the past, he reminded.

Earlier in the day, the bench had expressed dismay over the continuing strike by doctors in some parts of the state. It said the court was disturbed to learn the doctors had disregarded its request to call off their protest.

Rather than restraining from their duties, the doctors should approach the court for remedy, the bench said. "There is court to safeguard the interest of people. Then why do you take to the streets," it asked. "Doctors should not continue their strike at the cost of innocent people's lives."

The bench told the Indian Medical Association that it was surprised that the doctors were not advised of the legal implications of their action, adding that they should challenge the   Bill in a civilized manner by approaching the court.

It requested the restoration of medical services with immediate effect and adjourned the case to Monday.

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