BANGALORE: The High Court on Thursday directed the state government to file a report on the financial damaged caused by the government doctors’ strike.
A division bench headed by Justice K L Manjunath observed that there are reports that patients in government hospitals had a harrowing time because of the strike. Justice Manjunath said patients who come to government hospitals are poor and cannot afford treatment in private hospitals.
He criticised the Karnataka State Government Medical Officers’ Association, saying, “How can doctors on duty go on protest? Who sanctioned them leave?”
The association representative responded that of the 4,500 doctors, only 1,200 had protested. But the judge refused to accept the submission, saying photographs which appeared in newspapers suggest otherwise.
He said two deaths had occurred during the strike. But the association’s counsel said an elderly man had died in Bharamasagara, Chitradurga, but there have been no doctors for five months at that particular hospital. The other was a childbirth death and both had nothing to do with the protest, he said.
On Invoking ESMA
On Wednesday, the court had asked the state government why it had not invoked the Essential Maintenance Act, 1968 (ESMA), against the doctors. The government on Thursday said ESMA was established in 1994 for a term of 10 years, which ended in 2004.