Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: The Division Bench of Mohammad Rafiq, CJ. and Sujoy Paul, J., decided on a petition which was filed with the prayer that members of Junior Doctors Association (JUDA) of Government Medical Colleges in the entire State of Madhya Pradesh and other Associations or Unions of Doctors/Medical Officers/ Nurses/Medical Staff, should be restrained from continuing with the strike and that direction be given to the State Government to initiate appropriate action against the erring directors under the Essential Services Maintenance Act, National Disaster Management Act and the Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations 2002 and that action be taken against the members who have by proceeding on strike committed contempt of the orders passed by this Court.

Mr Pranay Choubey, counsel for the petitioner had submitted that members of Junior Doctors Association, who were students of post graduation study course in various branches of medicine had abstained from work w.e.f. 31-05-2021, demanding increase in their stipend, as a result of strike the emergency services in all type of hospitals had been shut down.

Mr Rishi Shrivastava and Mr Siddharth R. Gupta, counsel for the striking doctors argued that

  • first demand of the Junior Doctors was for increase in the amount of stipend which was static for past many years
  • second demand of the junior doctors was that they should be provided adequate security at the work place as in certain incidents they were subjected to not only misbehavior but also beating by the attendants and family members
  • if they and their family members were infected with corona virus, they should be provided free of cost treatment in the same hospital where they were working
  • fourth demand was that the medical colleges should waive the fee for the period of extension of the study course of post graduation and diploma over and above the period of three years
  • fifth demand was that 10% additional/extra marks given to the P.G. students who are rendering their services in rural/ remote/ difficult areas

Mr Purushendra Kaurav, Advocate General submitted that the resident doctors by proceeding on strike have committed contempt of the order of this Court and that the state government may consider their demand only if they first call off the strike and resume the duty.

The Court observed that All doctors have a solemn duty towards humanity. This duty binds them to serve the citizens suffering from any kind of disease. In the present scenario, this duty requires them to join hands with all fellow citizen in fight against the ongoing pandemic of Coronavirus. The Court was of the view that in this crucial phase of our lives when whole of the country is grappling with the deadly menace of Covid-19 following its second wave, the striking doctors have completely forgotten the solemn oath taken by them in the above extracted declaration. We quite appreciate that they have suffered hardship and rendered duties at odd hours at the cost of their health. But at the same time it is also equally true that they have chosen a wholly inappropriate time to press for their demands, howsoever reasonable they may be, by proceeding on strike.

The Court declared that the strike by junior doctors was illegal and directed them to immediately resume their duties and if they do so a high powered committee consisting of the Chief Secretary of the State, Additional Chief Secretary, Medical and Health and the Commissioner, Medical Education shall immediately call them for negotiation. If they failed to do so within 24 hours, it would be open for the government to take any legal action against them as it may deem fit in accordance with law.[Shailendra Singh v. State of M.P., 2021 SCC OnLine MP 1034, decided on 03-06-2021]


Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: Raja Vijayaraghavan V, J., addressed the instant petition alleging illegal and unorganised exercise of right to strike. The Bench stated,

“In the guise of a strike, the union leaders as well as the striking workers cannot resort to strong arm tactics and violence to intimidate and force the management to succumb to their demands.”

The petitioner, Bharat Serum Vaccines Ltd., was a company engaged in manufacturing and marketing pharmaceutical and lifesaving products. Though their Regional Office was situated at Ernakulam, the company had business interest in all districts in the State of Kerala. In October, 2020, on account of administrative reasons as well as business exigencies, the petitioners had to redeploy their Territory Branch Managers to other parts of the country. The petitioner submitted that the service conditions clearly stated that the employees were transferable, the transfer being an incidence of service. Though most of the employees accepted the transfer and joined the respective stations, the respondents had refused to oblige.

The petitioners contended that the respondents, with aid of Kerala Medical and Sales Representatives Association, caused obstruction to the managerial staff, Regional Business Managers and Sales Representatives in carrying on their business. The petitioners further submitted that on 23-11-2020, the Regional Business Manager was obstructed while he was discharging his duty along with one Aneesh. Moreover,

The Union had raised an open threat that the petitioners would not be permitted to carry on their business activities in the State unless their demands were met with.  Threats were also made that the entire business of the petitioners will be brought to a standstill.

In spite of several complains no assistance was rendered by the police and the party respondents were having a field day intimidating and threatening the employees of the petitioners and disrupting their business.

The Bench, after considering above mentioned facts stated that there could not be any doubt that the workers had right to resort to strike or dharna to effectively bargain with the management and to ensure that unfair labour practices were avoided. However, in the guise of a strike, the union leaders as well as the striking workers could not resort to strong arm tactics and violence to intimidate and force the management to succumb to their demands. The Court expressed, even if the demand was legitimate if the management for one reason or the other did not accede to their demand, the only option was to resolve the dispute in a manner known to law,

Under no circumstances can the respondents resort to violence to further their cause. That would infringe the rights of the petitioners to carry on their business.

 In the light of above, the instant petition was disposed of with the direction to the petitioners to approach the jurisdictional police station, if any threat or intimidatory tactics is adopted by respondents and the officer concerned was directed to enquire the same and take appropriate action.[Bharat Serum Vaccines Ltd. v. State of Kerala, WP(C). No. 29084 of 2020, decided on 15-02-2021]


Appearance before the Court by:

For the Petitioners: Adv. K.Praveen Kumar

For the Respondents: Adv. PP Thajudeen


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of D.N. Patel, CJ and Prateek Jalan, J., has taken cognizance of the news item published in few newspapers and news channels with regard to non-payment of salary to Resident Doctors of Kasturba Hospital and Hindu Rao Hospital/

Court noted the news items pertaining to the non payment of salary to the Resident Doctors of Kasturba Hospital and Hindu Rao Hospital situated at Delhi. Due to non-payment of salary for last three months, the resident doctors intend to either resign en masse or go on strike, published in the following newspapers/ news channel:

  • ANI
  • Aaj Tak
  • DNA
  • Hindustan Times
  • Amar Ujala
  • The Hindu
  • The Indian Express
  • Huffpost India

Standing Counsel, Akhil Mittal for respondent submitted that the resident doctors i.e. Junior Residents, Senior Residents and PG Doctors since March, 2020  have not been paid salaries due to financial constraints.

Counsel appearing for respondents 5, 6 and 7 has submitted that there are total of 370 Resident Doctors at Hindu Rao Hospital and 97 resident doctors at Kasturba Hospital.

It is assured by the respondent 5 that the payment of outstanding salary for the month of March, 2020 be paid to Junior Residents, Senior Residents as well as to PG doctors on or before 19th June, 2020.

Additional Solicitor General of India for respondent 3 and 4 submitted that they have already disbursed the legally payable amount to North Delhi Municipal Corporation in the month of May, 2020.

Nonetheless, they are ready to disburse an additional amount for payment of salary to the resident doctors. ASG assured that the amount shall be disbursed by 18th June, 2020.

Outstanding payment will be cleared for the months of March and April, 2020 to the resident and PG doctors of Hindu Rao Hospital and Kasturba Hospital as well as other hospitals listed.

Court further directed that as far as the payment of outstanding salary of March, 2020 is concerned, same shall be given to the Junior Residents, Senior Residents and PG Doctors in their bank accounts on 19th June, 2020.

Withe regard to payment for the month of April, 2020, same shall be made to all the resident doctors on or before 24th June, 2020.

Bench stated that without committing any violation, respondent 5 is expected to follow the aforesaid directions and the amount given by GNCTD for payment of salary for April, 2020 shall be utilized only for that specific purpose and for no other.

Thus, adjustment of the accounts can always be done at later stage but the salary is required to be paid on priority to the resident doctors.

This arrangement has been made as a special case for the resident doctors keeping in mind the non payment of salary since March, 2020 considering the current pandemic situation.[Court on its own motion v. UOI, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 647, decided on 12-06-2020]

COVID 19Legislation UpdatesNotifications

F.03/06/HESMA/2017/HP-II/874-886.—Whereas the vide Home Department GNCTD notification No. F.03/06/HESMA/2017/HP-II/4183-95 dated 24.10.2019 HESMA was imposed against contract employees engaged through outsourced agency in Centralised Accident & Trauma Services (CATS), GNCTD for a period of six months to secure uninterrupted health services necessary for the life of the community of the citizen of Delhi. The said notification is valid up to 03.05.2020.

And whereas the Lt. Governor of the National Capital Territory of Delhi is further satisfied that to ensure life saving essential services of ambulances uninterruptedly to the citizen of Delhi, It is necessary to extend HESMA for another period of six months against contractual employees engaged through outsourced agency in Centralised Accident & Trauma Services (CATS).

Now, therefore, the Lt. Governor of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, in exercise of Powers conferred upon him under section 3 read with section 4A of the Haryana Essential Services Maintenance Act 1974 (Haryana Act No. 40 of 1974) as extended to the National Capital Territory of Delhi vide Govt. of India, Ministry of Home Affairs Notification No. GSR 526(E) dated 30.07.93, hereby declares the above-said services as essential services and prohibits the strike/agitation by any of the contractual employees engaged through outsourced agency in Centralised Accident & Trauma Services (CATS), ambulance services run by the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi for another period of six months w.e.f 04.05.2020 up to 03.11.2020.

To access the notification, please click here: NOTIFICATION


HOME POLICE–II DEPARTMENT

[Notification dt. 25-04-2020]

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: The vacation bench of Deepak Gupta and Surya Kant, JJ has deferred the hearing on a plea seeking protection of doctors in Government hospitals, saying since doctors have called off their strike in West Bengal and other states, there is no urgency to hear the matter. The bench said it will not issue notice to the Centre but will keep the larger issue of protection of doctors open.

“We agreed to hear the plea today as there was a strike by doctors and medical fraternity in West Bengal and other states. The strike has been called off and there appears no urgency to hear the petition. List (the matter) before an appropriate bench,”

Meanwhile, the Indian Medical Association has also filed an impleadment application seeking the court’s intervention into the plea already filed, saying protection needs to be provided to doctors across the country. The bench said it needs to take a holistic view in providing security to doctors.

“We understand it is a serious issue but we can’t provide security to doctors at the cost of other citizens. We have to take a holistic view. We have to look at the larger picture. We are not against protection to doctors,”

Doctors in Bengal had been on strike since two of their colleagues were assaulted allegedly by relatives of a patient after he died last week. They called off their protest Monday night after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in a meeting assured them of steps by her Government to scale up security at state-run hospitals in the state.

The plea in the Supreme Court was filed on 14.06.2019 to seek directions to Union ministries of home affairs and health and West Bengal to depute government-appointed security personnel at all state-run hospitals to ensure safety and security of doctors. It had also sought directions to Bengal government to take the strictest legal and penal action against those who assaulted the two junior doctors at a hospital in Kolkata. The plea had cited an IMA data to say that more than 75 percent doctors across the country have faced some form of violence. It said the study concluded that 50 percent violent incidents have taken place in the Intensive Care Unit of hospitals and in 70 percent cases, relatives of patients were actively involved.

(Source: PTI)

Hot Off The PressNews

On 14 February 2019, a suicide terror attack was conducted by a Pakistan based terrorist organization Jaish-e-Mohammad, leading to the martyrdom of 40 brave jawans of the CRPF. JeM has been active in Pakistan for the last two decades, and is led by MASOOD AZHAR with its headquarters in Bahawalpur.

This organization, which is proscribed by the UN, has been responsible of a series of terrorist attacks including on the Indian Parliament in December 2001 and the Pathankot airbase in January 2016.

Information regarding the location of training camps in Pakistan and PoJK has been provided to Pakistan from time to time. Pakistan, however, denies their existence. The existence of such massive training facilities capable of training hundreds of jihadis could not have functioned without the knowledge of Pakistan authorities.

India has been repeatedly urging Pakistan to take action against the JeM to prevent jihadis from being trained and armed inside Pakistan. Pakistan has taken no concrete actions to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism on its soil.

Credible intelligence was received that JeM was attempting another suicide terror attack in various parts of the country, and the fidayeen jihadis were being trained for this purpose. In the face of imminent danger, a preemptive strike became absolutely necessary.

In an intelligence-led operation in the early hours of today, India struck the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot. In this operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen action were eliminated. This facility at Balakot was headed by MAULANA YOUSUF AZHAR (alias USTAD GHOURI), the brother-in-law of MASOOD AZHAR, Chief of JeM.

The Government of India is firmly and resolutely committed to taking all necessary measures to fight the menace of terrorism. Hence this non-military preemptive action was specifically targeted at the JeM camp. The selection of the target was also conditioned by our desire to avoid civilian casualties. The facility is located in a thick forest on a hilltop far away from any civilian presence. As the strike has taken place only a short while ago, we are awaiting further details.

The Government of Pakistan had made a solemn commitment in January 2004 not to allow its soil or territory under its control to be used for terrorism against India. We expect that Pakistan lives up to its public commitment and takes follow up actions to dismantle all JeM and other camps and hold the terrorists accountable for the actions.

[Dtaed 26-02-2019]

Ministry of External Affairs