The striking resident doctors in Maharashtra were threatened to join work or face action as they stayed away from work for a fifth day in a row, crippling the services in government run hospitals in the state.
Bombay High Court warned the doctors against taking “undue advantage of its sympathy.”
“Despite assurances, if the doctors have not resumed (work), we think we made a mistake yesterday by showing them sympathy and appreciating their work…The doctors are taking undue advantage of us and our sympathy. If you (doctors) keep stretching the matter like this, the public will come and hit you. You are creating this atmosphere,” said the court.
“Let the hospital management take suitable action against the doctors then. Let them all be terminated,” the court said.
Irked by the doctors’ failure to resume work today despite giving an assurance to the court that they will do so, a bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice G S Kulkarni said if they stretch the matter, the “public will hit” them.
The bench had yesterday asked all the resident doctors to resume work immediately and resolve their issues with the government amicably.
But when the court was informed that despite its order the doctors continued the strike, the court said, “If this is the attitude of the doctors, the respective hospital management can initiate suitable action against them and terminate their services.”
The bench gave the agitating doctors time till 8 am on Saturday to report back to work or else face action.
BMC counsel Suresh Pakhale informed the court that 135 people have lost their lives in the three civic body-run hospitals (Sion, KEM and Nair) due to the resident doctors’ strike since March 20.
To this, Chief Justice Chellur said, “The life of the patients is more important that your (doctors) demands.”
Nearly 4,000 resident doctors have stayed away from work since Monday, demanding enhanced security in the wake of a string of attacks on their colleagues by patients’ relatives at government hospitals across the state.
Not just the court, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis also gave an ultimatum.
“Enough is enough. If the doctors fail to resume work today, government will not sit quietly,” Fadnavis warned.
Meanwhile the Indian Medical Association (IMA) which was supporting the striking doctors, called off the stir.
Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) also filed an affidavit in court stating that the association had asked all its members to resume work immediately.
(With inputs from PTI)