The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Case to strip docs of licence

The Anuradha Saha death case has taken a fresh turn with a writ petition being filed in Delhi High Court demanding a suspension of the licences of two Calcutta-based doctors, Sukumar Mukherjee and Baidyanath Halder.

Anuradha, a resident of the US, had died due to alleged negligence in a Calcutta hospital while on a visit to the city in 1998.

The petition filed by Anuradha’s husband Kunal Saha, a US-based doctor, challenged the West Bengal Medical Council and the Medical Council of India for their failure to implement Section 7.5 of the Professional Etiquette, Ethics and Misconduct Act, 2002.

According to the Act, a trial court for “criminal offence” should take disciplinary action when a doctor is found guilty.

The petition contends that even though Mukherjee and Halder were sentenced to three months’ imprisonment and fined Rs 3,000 each, the medical councils had not suspended their licences. Earlier, Saha had contested the conviction of the accused doctors in the Alipore trial court on the ground that the punishment doled out was “lenient”.

Saha’s counsel Avik Datta said under British and US medical jurisprudence, a convicted doctor cannot practise till he is acquitted by the higher courts. The two Calcutta doctors, convicted by the Alipore trial court, are still in practice, the petition pointed out, while seeking a direction from the high court to the medical councils to suspend their licences.

Saha has also demanded a compensation of Rs 77,70,00,000 — an amount proportionate to Anuradha’s annual earnings at the time of her death ($40,000) — from the National Consumer Commission. This is the highest-ever damage claim case in the history of Indian medical jurisprudence, sources said.

The petition contended before the commission that Anuradha was prescribed Depomedrol, which “does not fall within the regimen of a general category medicine but belongs to the therapeutic category for chronic ailments”.

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