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HC upholds Saha order

A division bench of the high court on Thursday rejected an appeal moved by the West Bengal Medical Council for a stay on Justice Aniruddha Bose’s order allowing doctor Kunal Saha to fight his case from Canada through videoconference.

Saha had moved a case against the medical council for not cancelling doctor Sukumar Mukherjee’s registration even after the Supreme Court held “him guilty of negligent treatment” of his wife Anuradha, who had succumbed to her ailment.

Saha had appealed before Justice Bose of the high court to be allowed to fight the case in person from Canada through videoconference. The judge granted his plea.

Saibalendu Bhowmik, appearing for the medical council, pleaded with the division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Asim Banerjee on Thursday to turn down the order of the single-judge bench.

“The court should not allow a person to fight his case from Canada. Saha has the liberty to engage a lawyer to fight his case. Then what is the need of allowing him to fight the case through videoconference?” the lawyer submitted.

Saha, who is fighting his case himself and attended Thursday’s proceedings, submitted: “It is very difficult for me to come again and again to Calcutta from Canada to fight the case. That was why I had prayed before the trial judge to allow me to fight the case through videoconference.

“I had assured Justice Bose that I would bear the entire cost of holding the videoconference.... Why is the medical council opposing the order?”

After hearing both sides, the division bench rejected the council’s appeal. “I wonder why is the council making such a prayer?” Chief Justice Chellur said while rejecting the appeal.

The Supreme Court had on October 24, 2013, awarded the highest-ever compensation to Saha and asked Calcutta-based AMRI Hospitals and three doctors to pay over Rs 11 crore to the US-based doctor, who had lost his 29-year-old wife during a visit to India in 1998.

The doctors who were directed to pay compensation to Saha were Sukumar Mukherjee, B.N. Halder and Balram Prasad. “Doctor Mukherjee would pay Rs 40.4 lakh to Saha, while two other doctors, Halder and Prasad, would pay Rs 26.93 lakh each to him,” the apex court had said.