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Highest Compensation for Medical Negligence: NCDRC Issues Notice for Imprisonment of Guilty Doctor for Non-payment of Compensation

In another major development in the long-drawn battle for justice for the wrongful death of Anuradha Saha, National Consumer Forum (NCDRC) has issued notice today against Dr. Balaram Prasad for his possible imprisonment for non-payment of compensation.  On October 21, 2011, the Apex Consumer Court awarded Rs. 1.7 crore, highest in Indian medico-legal history, as compensation for Anuradha’s death against Dr. Prasad and two other senior Kolkata physicians (Sukumar Mukherjee and Baidyanath Halder) as well as AMRI Hospital in Kolkata (where 92 innocent patients died from a horrific fire last December).  Since none of the doctors/hospital payed the money even after the lapse of 8 weeks (time limit given by NCDRC), Dr. Saha filed a petition seeking imprisonment of the delinquent doctors and AMRI Hospital as allowed under Section 27 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.  While NCDRC issued a notice against Dr. Prasad today (who was not represented by any attorney), the Commission also passed a stern order against Dr. Mukherjee, Dr. Halder and AMRI Hospital directing them to pay the full compensation within next 4 weeks.

Although the compensation of Rs. 1.7 crore is highest so far in Indian medico-legal history, Dr. Saha has already filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the decision by NCDRC  seeking enhancement of compensation (total claim of Rs. 97 crore plus interest since 1998).  The Apex Court has already admitted Dr. Saha’s appeal and listed this historic case for final argument on May 1, 2012.  Dr. Saha has already vouched that except his personal legal expenses, the entire compensation will be donated in India for promotion of better healthcare and for the poor Indian children.  Mr. M.N. Krishnamani, Senior Advocate and ex-president of Supreme Court Bar, argued this case today on behalf of Dr. Saha who was also assisted by advocate Mr. T.V. George.

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