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SC: “Don’t Threaten the Doctors and Health Workers”

The court questioned the Delhi government about why did they suspend the doctor who made a video on the pathetic conditions in one of the hospitals.

On 17th June 2020, the Supreme Court issued a number of notices for the central and the state government. The bench was headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan. The hearing took place regarding pleas filed by different sources. However, all of them were related to the issues faced by doctors while handling corona virus cases in the country.

Among them, one was a suo motu case about the proper treatment of COVID-19 patients and dignified handling of the bodies in government hospitals. The court questioned the Delhi government about why did they suspend the doctor who made a video on the pathetic conditions in one of the hospitals.

The bench said, “Don’t shoot the messenger. Don’t threaten the doctors and health workers. Support them. What has Delhi done? Please protect doctors, nurses”. Delhi government has been asked to file an affidavit in the matter.

The court also heard a plea filed by Dr Arushi Jain, regarding the payment of salaries and some quarantine facilities. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that the central government has already issued circulars which states that the salaries of doctors and other staff must be paid. However, the lawyer of the petitioner was not satisfied and wanted clear directions.

Another plea that the court heard was filed by United Nurses Association (UNA) regarding the protective kits for the health workers, as they are continuously exposed to the risk of contracting corona virus. The plea filed by them read, “the health and safety of healthcare workers are of utmost importance because a further shortage of health care workers would result in thousands of unattended COVID-19 patients, which will have serious repercussions including escalation of the present situation and result in an impact on the economy, medical facilities, potential deaths and loss of human resource”.

Among many other things, they also wanted the free testing and treatment to be extended to these workers. The bench has asked the central government to respond on the matter and the next hearing has been scheduled after four weeks.

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