Mumbai: After being rapped by the Bombay High Court, nearly 3,000 resident doctors from 17 government hospitals in Maharashtra decided to withdraw their mass casual leave agitation with immediate effect, a doctors' body said on Tuesday.
A majority of the doctors are likely to resume duty on Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning, it said.
"We have always obeyed court orders and are appealing to all resident doctors to report back for duty as soon as possible," a Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) spokesperson told IANS.
The development followed strong comments by chief justice Manjula Chellur and justice GS Kulkarni on the doctors' mass casual leave agitation going on for the last two days, following a public interest litigation filed by activist Afaq Madaviya.
The court came down heavily on the doctors and compared them to "factory workers" for launching the agitation that has almost paralysed public healthcare system in India's second biggest state.
"If you (resident doctors) think you can behave like a factory worker, then you are unfit to be a doctor. It's a shame. How can can you say first give us security and then we will work?" chief justice Chellur asked sharply.
When MARD lawyer Prashant Pophale told the court that there have been three incidents wherein relatives of patients have brutally beaten up doctors on duty, the chief justice termed it "madness" and wondered, "Why the public anarchy? I don't say doctors don't commit mistakes, but (a) patient may lose life due to complications. Every case cannot be due to negligence. If there is negligence, there are forums for redressal," Chellur observed.
The petitioner's lawyer Datta Mane said owing to the agitation, 58 patients in the state lost lives. The government pleader said that nearly 60 percent healthcare activities were hit.
The court ordered the striking medicos to join duties or the hospital managements were free to initiate action and contempt of court proceedings against them. The matter will come up for hearing again on Wednesday.
MARD had launched the mass leave stir to protest frequent attacks on resident doctors by aggrieved relatives of patients, resulting in major disruptions in healthcare at government hospitals. Hundreds of scheduled surgeries were postponed and serpentine queues of patients witnessed outside hospitals across Maharashtra.
MARD president Yashowardhan Kabra said the sudden spate of attacks on medicos had left them shattered and said, "It is difficult to work under such life-threatening conditions."
In Mumbai, the working of King Edward Memorial Hospital, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital, Nair Hospital, and Sir JJ Group Hospitals were affected.
Updated Date: Mar 21, 2017 22:22 PM