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State ticked off, interns back on duty

Three of the six RG Kar Medical College and Hospital junior doctors, who moved Calcutta High Court after being punished by the government for allegations that were not clearly spelt out or probed, have been asked by Justice Indira Banerjee to resume duty from Tuesday.

Justice Banerjee, after hearing out the petition filed by the RG Kar interns suspended following a recommendation from the state government, ordered a stay on the punishment, directing the authorities to allow them to resume work till any order to the contrary.

Asking advocate Saumitra Dasgupta, representing the state government, to produce the inquiry report and the relevant Calcutta University rules, on the basis of which the junior doctors were suspended, Justice Banerjee gave him till next Monday to do the needful. After Dasgupta admitted that he had received no intimation from his client regarding this and asked for time till Friday, the judge remarked: “The notice was issued on November 13. Today is the 18th...”

Subhajit Ray, Subhankar Chatterjee and Biplab Chandra, all belonging to the All-India Democratic Students’ Organisation (the SUCI’s student wing), were handed suspension notices less than a fortnight ago, along with one other intern (Rakesh Sharma). Two house-staff members (Manas Maiti and Dibyendu Saha) were dismissed from duty.

State health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra, while announcing the government’s decision, had refused to spell out the charges. But hospital officials said the six were being punished after being found guilty of beating up patients’ relatives and journalists after the death of Nityagopal Banik sparked trouble at RG Kar. The six were also charged with medical negligence.

The three, belonging to the AIDSO, stayed away from work along with the other three junior doctors till Monday. But they filed a suit in Calcutta High Court last week, challenging the government’s decision.

Their counsel, Kartik Ray, told the court that the government decision was legally untenable. The punished junior doctors were given no opportunity to present their case before the decision was taken, said the petition filed by Ray on behalf of his clients. Before fixing Monday for the next hearing, Justice Banerjee allowed the government to proceed with an inquiry “after intimating the petitioners of the charges”.

Director of health services Prabhakar Chatterjee said the court’s decision would be respected by the government. “We will now have to ensure that we do our part of the court-directed work in time,” he added.

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