‘Place Interest Of Patients Above’: Delhi HC Directs AIIMS Nurses On Strike To Rejoin Work

New Delhi: Amid the ongoing strike by nurses of the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), the Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed Nurses’ Union to ask its member nurses to rejoin work immediately stating that medical staff must place the interest of patients above and beyond their dispute with the administration.

The court’s directive came after AIIMS Nurses’ Union had earlier announced an indefinite strike with effect from Tuesday morning demanding that the suspension of its President Harish Kajla be revoked.

While announcing its decision, Justice Yashwant Varma observed that while the rights of the union to espouse the cause of its members stands duly recognised, it should must bear in mind the deleterious impact that the call to strike would have medical institution as well as patients awaiting emergency surgery and care.

“Since the impugned action of the respondent union would cause grave prejudice and also seriously impede and impact the working of the petitioner institution, the respondent union is directed to ensure that its members and nursing officers would immediately rejoin work forthwith pending further order,” news agency PTI quoted Delhi HC as saying in its decision.

Futhermore, the court also deemed it appropriate to call upon the union to require its members to resume duties bearing in mind the essential nature of the duties they perform.

“The members of the union must at this stage and pending further consideration by this court of the grievances raised, place the interest of the patients above and beyond the disputes that stand raised,” it noted.

The matter has been scheduled for hearing again on April 27 (Wednesday).

Appearing for AIIMS, Lawyer Satya Ranjan Swain informed the High Court that nurses’ union refused to attend to duty after a notice was issued on April 25. This resulted in the cancellation of various surgeries and has crippled the functioning of a centre of excellence, the lawyer added.

According to claims made by AIIMS, Kajla was suspended on April 25 after a group of nurses protested in the main Operation Theatre on April 22 over staff shortage resulted in the cancellation of at least 50 planned surgeries.

In a viral video, the President of the union can be seen shouting at the duty officer and creating a chaotic situation and a show-cause notice was then issued against him.

Action against the office-bearer was based on video clips of an incident. Lawyer Swain also asserted that the demands of the union are under active consideration and there was no justification to go on a strike.

(With inputs from PTI.)

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