Effect of PBT’s Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in Supreme Court: MCI Directs State Medical Councils to Take Disciplinary Action Against Striking Doctors

In view of the judgment passed by the Supreme Court of India in response to the PIL filed by our organization (PBT) in SC Writ Petition No. 316/2012 against “doctors’ strike”, Medical Council of India (MCI) has issued a circular to all State Medical Councils (SMCs) directing them to take cognizance of all matters related to doctors’ strike and “to take necessary action against the doctor concerned” (see MCI circular below). PBT filed the said writ petition in Supreme Court in view of a nation-wide “doctors’ strike” called by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) in 2012 that crippled the healthcare delivery system and caused deaths and injuries to hapless patients across India. While disposing the writ petition, Apex Court had held that doctors should not resort to strike and that MCI should take disciplinary action against the striking doctors.

Unfortunately, despite SC’s specific directives last November, doctors across India have continued to go on strike holding the ailing citizens at ransom, especially the poor patients who have no choice but to attend government hospitals. PBT has also brought this to the attention of the health department. After more than five months, MCI has now woken up and issued this notice to all SMCs so that any doctor joining “doctors’ strike” may face disciplinary action including permanent loss of his/her license to practice. Although PBT supports all legitimate demands by members of the medical community, we welcome this move by MCI since “doctors’ strike” is not only immoral and against the Hippocratic Oath, no patient should suffer only to settle score between medical fraternity and government.

MCI Circular – Doc Strike (May, 2015)