The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Doctor ouster case setback

A division bench of Calcutta High Court on Wednesday dismissed US-based doctor Kunal Saha’s petition for removal of Dr Ashok Chowdhury from the post of president, West Bengal Medical Council. The division bench of Justices Ashok Ganguly and Hrishikesh Banerjee upheld the observation of Justice K.J. Sengupta, not finding enough grounds in Saha’s plea for Chowdhury’s removal.

Saha told Metro over the telephone from the US that he would move the Supreme Court against the order. Wednesday’s judgment also upholds the West Bengal Medical Council’s decision to acquit three doctors — Sukumar Mukherjee, Abani Roy Chowdhury and Baidyanath Haldar — on charges of negligence in the treatment of Anuradha Saha, Kunal’s wife.

According to legal experts, if the division bench had allowed the Saha appeal, the hearing and the judgment by the Council would have to be declared null and void, as Ashok Chowdhury had presided over the committee assigned for hearing Saha’s application. Saha had prayed before the medical council for action against the three doctors he claimed were responsible for his wife’s death. Saha wanted the council to cancel their licences.

After filing the petition before the medical council, Saha feared he would not get justice from the doctors if Chowdhury headed the fact-finding committee. So, he filed a case at Calcutta High Court, demanding Chowdhury’s removal.

After his wife’s death, Saha had filed cases at three separate forums — the judicial forum, consumer forum and the medical forum. In the judicial forum, Saha won a major victory when a sub-divisional judicial magistrate of Alipore sentenced two doctors — Sukumar Mukherjee and Baidyanath Haldar — for negligent treatment. The court, however, acquitted Abani Roy Chowdhury of the charges.

Saha filed a case in Calcutta High Court seeking stronger sentences for Mukherjee and Halder and the inclusion of Roy Chowdhury in the list of accused doctors. His appeal is pending. In the consumer court, his application for adequate compensation is still pending.

Saha asserted: “I am not bothered by what the high court has to say. The order is my ticket to the Supreme Court, where I will get justice.” He said the Medical Council of India had already started hearing his case against the state medical council. Counsel for the state council Saibalendu Bhowmik, however, was confident the apex court would uphold the trial court verdict.

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