LAHORE - The Lahore High Court on Saturday ordered young doctors to resume work in all hospitals of Punjab from July 9, Monday.
The court also suspended all terminations and transfers of young doctors along with show-cause notices issued to them. The court further directed the committee set up to review doctors’ service structure to start negotiations with the Young Doctors Associations (YDA) and conclude it within two weeks.
The court directed to submit the minutes of committee meetings on a regular basis.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan passed the orders on a petition filed by Judicial Activism Panel, a public interest litigation firm against the young doctors strike.
As the proceedings started, YDA’s counsel Raja Zulqarnain informed the court that the young doctors had resumed work in hospital emergencies in compliance with the court order. “But doctors are being harassed and registration of murder cases against doctors during the strike show malafide intentions of the government,” he added.
However, Punjab Additional Advocate General (AAG) Faisal Zaman told the court the Punjab home secretary had directed police to restrain from harassing the doctors after the court’s order.
To a court query, the AAG replied that show-cause notices were issued to doctors who were absent from duty and contended that if a legal step was taken, it did not fall under the definition of harassment.
To another court query, Punjab Health Secretary Arif Nadeem submitted that 28 doctors were sacked and show cause notices were issued to 11 others.
YDA counsel Raja Zulqarnain submitted the exact figures were not being presented in the court. The AAG assured the court to submit all record of notices and terminations.
The YDA counsel alleged that an FIR registered against eight doctors of Mayo Hospital over a child’s death was bogus. He said the FIR aimed to pressurize the doctors, therefore, it should be quashed. He said it was a mindset acting against the educated class.
However, the court observed that cooperation between stakeholders should continue to resole the matter amicably.
YDA President Hamid Butt said the YDA was a “product of grievances” and existed in all four provinces.
He said they wanted to improve the system and serve the people of the country instead of going aboard. He said YDA had been striving for a service structure like the judiciary and bureaucrats had for the last four years, as sons of high-ranking officers were promoted whereas children of poor class retired in grade 17. Hamid said the doctors were being harassed and held the Punjab government responsible for the deaths in hospitals.
However, the court said that it would ensure that no adverse action was taken against them. The court further observed that both sides had to show a positive attitude to improve the situation and it was necessary to restart dialogue and set a timeframe for it.
The court was also informed that the doctors’ service structure issue was also pending with the Supreme Court. The court directed the YDA counsel to move an application for quashing the FIR registered against eight doctors over the death of a child. The court later adjourned the hearing until July 9.