In a rare move involving cases against medical negligence, the Calcutta High Court imposed a cost against West Bengal Medical Council (WBMC) yesterday for deliberate delay in filing response affidavit in the writ petition for cancellation of license of Dr. Sukumar Mukherjee, disgraced physician who was held guilty for causing death of Anuradha Saha by the Supreme Court that also made him and some other doctors/AMRI hospital in Kolkata to pay the highest compensation in Indian medical history. The WBMC found nothing wrong with Dr. Mukherjee’s treatment and gave him a clean chit in 2002. However, after a historic legal fight by Anuradha’s husband and PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, Apex Court found Dr. Mukherjee as the main culprit doctor responsible for Anuradha’s death in 2009. The Apex Court also awarded Rs. 11.5 crore as compensation against Mukherjee and others in 2013. The Medical Council of India (MCI), highest medical regulatory body in India, also found Dr. Mukherjee guilty for medical negligence and directed WBMC to cancel his medical registration in 2011. Ironically, the 17 doctor-members who acquitted Dr. Mukherjee in 2002 were indicted for “criminal conspiracy” (IPC Section 120b) by the trial court and Calcutta High Court also dismissed the quashing petition filed by the WBMC members. Although the indicted WBMC doctors including then WBMC president, Dr. Ashok Chowdhury have filed an appeal in the Supreme Court, they are now waiting for criminal trial to begin for the first time in Indian medical history.
Dr. Saha filed the new writ petition after WBMC refused to cancel Dr. Mukherjee’s license even after MCI found him guilty for medical negligence and Calcutta High Court clearly declared that finding of the Apex Court must be binding on all state medical councils and MCI. Dr. Saha came from USA to argue this important matter before Calcutta High Court but the hearings were delayed due to a “boycott” call by the Calcutta High Court Bar. However, even after the court started functioning, WBMC were not able to file their response affidavit and sought more time when the case was heard on Wednesday. Dr. Saha, appearing in person, pressed the court to impose penalty against WBMC for their willful delay of the case only to harass Dr. Saha who had to wait coming all the way from his permanent place of residence in USA. The court agreed and imposed a cost of “100 gems” against the WBMC. The matter has been fixed for final hearing on August 17, 2015.