Expressing concern over reports of doctors not being paid salaries, the Supreme Court today said the country "cannot have dissatisfied soldiers in this war that is being made against coronavirus." The court said the government needed to do more to address concerns of medical professionals.
The Supreme Court was hearing a petition that called for doctors and others in the frontlines of the virus battle to be accommodated in hotels and guest houses for quarantine after seven to 14 days of duty. The petitioner, Arushi Jain, said currently, they had to share rooms, which defeated the purpose.
The court quoted media reports from Hyderabad and Delhi on doctors not being paid and said "such incidents should not have happened".
"Do not take a cosmetic artificial approach," a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MR Shah told the government.
There were reports, the court said, of doctors going on strike and Delhi doctors not paid for three months. "These are concerns that should have been taken. It should not require court intervention. You (government) need to do more. Must make sure their concerns are addressed. The country cannot have dissatisfied soldiers in this war that is being made against corona. Channel the extra money to this issue," the Supreme Court said.
The court was told by the petitioner that persons handling coronavirus cases without full PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) were in direct contact despite high-risk contact protocol for quarantine of health professionals.
"Doctors are also subject to wage reduction. If they are working no deduction under any government orders should be done. Private hospitals should also not cut salaries of doctors," the petitioner said.
On behalf of the government, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the petitioner's lawyer, Senior Advocate KV Viswanathan, "seems to be getting ad hoc information". However, he said "suggestions are welcome" on how to tackle accommodation and other problems faced by health professionals.