The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to West Bengal Medical Council president Ashok Choudhury and registrar Dilip Kumar Ghosh, asking them why contempt of court action should not be initiated against them for alleged “wilful negligence and non-compliance” of a Calcutta High Court order. The high court had directed them to submit to plaintiff Kunal Saha the ethical committee report on the death of his wife, Anuradha, due to medical negligence.
A division bench of Justices M.B. Shah and Arun Kumar issued the notices, after senior counsel for the petitioner M.N. Krishnamani contended that the Council officials’ failure amounted to a contempt of court. No date has been set for the doctors to reply or further hearings, but it usually takes six to eight weeks in the apex court for such notices.
Kunal Saha, a US-based physician from Calcutta, had moved a special leave petition seeking contempt action against the Council officials for not submitting to him the ethical committee report on the death of his wife. Anuradha, also a US-based doctor, died in a Calcutta hospital on May 28, 1998, due to medical negligence while the Sahas were visiting their hometown.
Physicians Sukumar Mukherjee and Baidyanath Halder have already been convicted for negligence and their appeal is pending. The Medical Council, after conducting an inquiry, “did not even bother to make available a copy of its ethical committee report”, Kunal Saha said in his petition.