(For any questions/concerns, contact PBTINDIA2012@GMAIL.COM)
The final chapter of the historic saga for the wrongful death of Anuradha Saha is likely to unfold next week before the Supreme Court of India. A division bench of the Apex Court presided by Hon’ble Justice Mr. B.S. Chauhan will hear the final argument on Tuesday (July 10, 2012) in the appeal filed by Anuradha’s husband and PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, seeking enhancement of compensation awarded by the National Consumers Forum (NCDRC) last year which granted Rs. 1.7 crore as compensation against three top Kolkata doctors (Sukumar Mukherjee, Baidyanath Halder and Balaram Prasad) and AMRI Hospital in Kolkata for Anuradha’s death from medical negligence during a social visit to India in 1998. Although Rs. 1.7 crore is the highest compensation awarded in India for death of a patient from medical negligence, this compensation was grossly inadequate in context of this unprecedented case with a total claim of compensation which now stands about Rs. 200 crore (with interest). The NCDRC not only awarded a compensation which is less than 1% of the claim, it did not even add a single dime as interest in this 14-year old case which is virtually unheard of in the annals of Indian judicial system Moreover, NCDRC also held Dr. Saha partially responsible for his wife’s death and deducted 10% from the compensation as a penalty against him going even above the Supreme Court that had categorically held 4 Kolkata doctors and AMRI Hospital solely responsible for Anuradha’s death in 2009 and remanded the case back to NCDRC only for determination of the quantum of compensation.
These points have been presented in the appeal before the Apex Court which will now decide the ultimate compensation to be paid by the Kolkata doctors/hospital. Dr. Saha has already stated that except for his personal legal expenses, the entire compensation from this case will be donated in India for promotion of better healthcare and poor Indian children. Ironically, NCDRC dismissed all charges of medical negligence against the Kolkata doctors/hospital in 2006 and only after Dr. Saha filed an appeal against the NCDRC decision, the Supreme Court unequivocally held that NCDRC was clearly wrong to find that there was no medical negligence by the doctors and AMRI hosptial in Kolkata. This final hearing was previously scheduled to take place before the Apex Court in May, 2012 but could not take place as the court went on summer vacation. Dr. Saha, who argued this case “in person” before the Apex Court in 2009, was before the Supreme Court in May, 2012 but had to return to USA without the final hearing. He will be appearing before the Supreme Court again next week to argue “in person” for the final chapter of this historic battle for justice not only for Anuradha, but also for all victims of “medical negligence” across India.