The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Showcause to medical council in Saha case

New Delhi, Dec. 10: Delhi High Court today issued a notice to the Medical Council of India, asking it to show cause why proceedings against some Calcutta doctors should not be initiated in the Anuradha Saha medical negligence case.

Justice Manmohan Sarin issued the notice to MCI after hearing arguments by senior counsel M.N. Krishnamani, and counsel Avik Datta, who are representing Kunal Saha.

Anuradha and Kunal Saha, both medical practitioners in the US, were on a visit home in 1998 when Anuradha died due to alleged medical negligence in the Calcutta Hospital. Her husband has since filed a series of lawsuits in the Alipore trial court, Calcutta High Court, Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court.

The high court directed the MCI to reply to its notice within four weeks and asked Saha to file his rejoinder within another four weeks. The case has been posted for final hearing in April 2003.

Krishnamani argued that the licence of two doctors, Sukumar Mukherjee and Baidyanath Haldar, should be immediately suspended. The MCI had failed in its duty by not implementing “Section 7.5 of the Professional Etiquette, Ethics and Misconduct Act”, he added.

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

Mukherjee and Halder were sentenced to three months’ rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs 3,000 each by the Alipore trial court, but neither the West Bengal Medical Council nor the MCI took any action against them or suspended their licences.

The lawsuit filed in Delhi High Court seeks a direction to “immediately” suspend the licences of the two doctors under Section 7.5 of the Act.

Saha has demanded more than Rs 77 crore as compensation in a petition before the national consumer commission for the death of his wife, who was earning an annual $40,000. This is the highest ever damage claim in Indian medical jurisprudence history.

The petition claims Anuradha was given an injection of Depomedrol, which “does not fall within the regimen of a general category medicine but belongs to the therapeutic for chronic ailments”.

Under American and British laws, a convicted doctor cannot practise medicine till acquitted by a higher court. But Mukherjee and Halder do so even after being convicted by the trial court, the petition alleged.

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