NEW DELHI: Taking a serious note of the non-payment of salary and a lack of proper accommodation to doctors, the Supreme Court on Friday said that it was not conducive to keep “soldiers unhappy” during a war-like situation.
A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M.R. Shah said, “It is kind of a war. You do not keep soldiers unhappy during war. So travel the extra mile to make the corona warriors feel safe.”
The observation from the apex court came while hearing a PIL by a doctor, alleging salaries of doctors involved in tackling Covid-19, are either not being paid or cut or being delayed.
“Can you see that doctors were on strike recently? This should not require court’s intervention. You need to do more. This is a matter of concern regarding the doctors,” noted the bench.
The SC bench also suggested the Centre that it can channel extra money to address the issue.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta contended before the bench that he was not opposing this petition and if there are better suggestions, then the same can be accommodated certainly.Justice Bhushan, on the aspect of accommodation, said the Solicitor General needs to check what can be done.
Mehta replied that guidelines have been formulated by World Health Organisation (WHO), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and other experts.
The bench insisted that the Centre should do more and make sure that the concerns of the doctors are addressed. The top court listed the matter for further hearing on June 17.
The petition has also questioned the Centre’s Standard Operation Procedures (SOP) making their 14-day quarantine non-mandatory.
In an affidavit the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had said, “A healthcare worker properly protected by PPEs in workplace settings carries no additional risk to their families or children, as suggested or otherwise.”