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November 8, 2019

LHC orders doctors to call off strike immediately


November 8, 2019

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday ordered the protesting doctors of the Young Doctors Association (YDA) to call off their strike immediately and return to their duties in out-door emergency wards and in-door departments of all the public sector hospitals in Punjab.

The court also directed the provincial government to address their concerns and refrain from taking any adverse action against young doctors, nurses and paramedics. However, the court made it clear that provincial government or any other authority concerned would be free to take stern action against all persons who continued their strike after 12noon on Friday.

The court ruled that strike of young doctors and paramedics was uncalled for because they were observing strikes against Medical Teaching Institutes (Reforms) Ordinance 2019 which had not been implemented so far.

“Drat act has been submitted for legislation before the provincial assembly in which all the authorities and stakeholders will be heard by the committee concerned,” the court said.

Moreover, the young doctors and paramedics are subject to the provision of Punjab Essential Services Maintenance Act (PEMSA) 1958 which prohibits the government servant /employees from absenting themselves from work.

The court said, “Section 7 of PESM Act imposes criminal liability by providing that a person guilty of breach of provisions of this act is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year and with fine. In the presence of this law the doctors, nurses and paramedics have no legal justification to go on strike. Furthermore, doctors’ strike is violation of the article 5(2) of the Constitution as well as of judgment of Supreme Court in Shakeel Akhtar vs MS Mental Health (2000 SCMR 71). The Article 5(2) of the Constitution says as under, “Obedience to the constitution and law is the inviolable obligation of every citizen wherever he may be and of every other person for the time being in Pakistan.”

The court further said Supreme Court judgment is binding on the doctors under Article 189 of the Constitution.

Justice Jawad Hassan passed the order on a petition moved by Judicial Activism Panel through advocate Muhammad Azhar Siddique challenging doctors’ strike in all public sector hospitals of the provincial capital.

Justice Hassan reprimanded the provincial health secretary for committing negligence in addressing the issues and concerns of the doctors.

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