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“Doctors are Corona Warriors, they have to be protected”: SG Tushar Mehta to Supreme Court

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Supreme Court bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan & S. Ravindra Bhat heard pleas by Dr Jerryl Banait, Amit Sahni & Dr Arushi Jain through video conferencing on shortage of PPE kits for healthcare workers in the wake of COVID19 and deployment of security for professionals.

Supreme Court clubbed the PILs seeking common prayer(s) for access to protective gear, hazmat suits, PPEs, masks & other requisite equipments to all healthcare workers across India &  heard them together via Video Conferencing.

PIL filed by Dr. Jerryl Banait prayed for WHO-approved protection kits for health workers. It sought for provision of PPE kits not only in metro but also in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. The petition filed by Advocate Amit Sahni sought to immediately resolve shortage of PPE Kits including body coveralls, N-95 masks and 2-ply/3-ply surgical masks etc for healthcare professionals. The petition also mentioned that if the immediate steps towards maintaining security of Health Workers are not taken, then the entire healthcare system of the Country would collapse. The plea also sought for directions to respondents to monitor the shortage and procurement of the same on daily basis in the larger public interest. Relying upon news articles regarding delayed delivery of protective gear and its acute shortage, the Petitioner craved” indulgence of the court to direct respondents to immediately resolve shortage of PPE kits” as safety of health professionals who are tirelessly putting efforts to fight against Covid-19 is at risk.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta in the hearing of these PIL’s said, “I am not opposing any of these petitions. Government is doing its best in this front. PPE kits and other things are being arranged. Doctors are corona warriors. They have to be protected. Not only physical protection but family’s safety. They are being housed in hotels. We are taking steps. We will continue to do so”

SG also informed the Court that salary of Government and private doctors are not being cut. We will be writing a letter to all states that no salary of any government doctor or staff should be deducted.

Sr adv Mukul Rohatgi told Supreme Court that hospitals are deducting cost of masks/PPEs from salary of doctors and hospital staff. Solicitor General added that if someone is doing this I will send police. Government is walking extra mile for doctors. Physical protection, Equipment, hotel stay etc are provided. Police pickets are at hospitals so that patients don’t escape.

-India Legal Bureau

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