MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Friday asked the striking resident doctors in Maharashtra to resume work by Saturday morning or face action.+
The court hit out at the agitating resident doctors for taking "undue advantage of its sympathy,"
Irked by the doctors' failure to resume work on Friday 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 on Thursday asked all the resident doctors to resume work immediately and resolve their issues with the government amicably.
But it got upset when it was informed by the Maharashtra government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) that despite the court's order, the doctors are still on strike.
"If this is the attitude of the doctors, the respective hospital management can initiate suitable action against them and terminate their services," said the bench tersely.
The bench, however, gave the agitating doctors time till 8am tomorrow to report back to work or else face action.
BMC counsel Suresh Pakhale today 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+ are more important than your (doctors) demands."
"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 bench said.
"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," remarked an upset chief justice.
"Let the hospital management take suitable action against the doctors then. Let them all be terminated," the court said.
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.
On the court's direction today, the secretary and the president of the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) filed an affidavit stating that the association has asked all its members to resume work immediately.
"The association has no objection if action is initiated against those doctors who fail to resume work," the affidavit said.