In a historic judgment which may have major impact on all cases of “medical negligence” and corruption in the medical council across India, Calcutta High Court today has directed 17 top Kolkata doctors and ex-members of West Bengal Medical Council (WBMC) to stand trial for alleged “criminal conspiracy” (IPC Section 120b) and “screening offender” (IPC Section 201).
This case stems from the wrongful death of Anuradha Saha, wife of PBT president Dr. Kunal Saha, who died in 1998 during a social visit to India due to gross medical negligence by three top Kolkata doctors including Dr. Sukumar Mukherjee, “chief adviser” of health for the Mamata Banerjee government. The 17 WBMC members acquitted all three doctors responsible for Anuradha’s death in 2002 by suppressing truth and expert medical opinions. After a criminal case was filed by Dr. Saha in 2011 with incriminating evidences obtained from WBMC, Bankshall Court in Kolkata found sufficient ground to hold all 17 doctor-members prima facie guilty for “criminal conspiracy” (IPC Section 120b) and “screening offenders” (IPC Section 201) for acquitting the three Kolkata doctors (see Bankshall Court order below). Ironically, Supreme Court of India also found the three Kolkata doctors responsible for Anuradha’s death in a historic judgment in 2009 (SCC 2009, vol. 9, p. 221). The National Consumer Court also imposed highest compensation (Rs. 1.7 crore) against the three doctors in 2011 for causing wrongful death of Anuradha (final judgment for further enhancement of this compensation is now pending in the Apex Court).
The 17 doctor-members moved Calcutta HC to quash the criminal case upheld by the Bankshall Court vide Criminal Revision Petition (CRR No. 4243/2011). After almost two years of hearings, Calcutta HC today refused to quash the criminal case and directed all 17 doctors to stand trial for the alleged criminal offences that they have been charged with, each of which carries a sentence of two years or longer of rigorous imprisonment. This historic decision by Calcutta HC, on “Doctors’ Day” today and just one day before final vote counting for WBMC election, would undoubtedly send a strong signal against all corrupt practices by doctors and members of the medical councils.
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