The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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State swallows bitter pill on interns

Calcutta, Nov. 25: Three weeks after punishing six RG Kar Medical College and Hospital junior doctors for “negligence and indiscipline”, the state government withdrew the order of suspension that prompted three of them to approach Calcutta High Court for redress.

The submission — preceded by days of frantic (but unsuccessful) search for evidence against the punished six — came in Justice Indira Banerjee’s court today.

Implicit in the submission was also revocation of the punishment of the three who did not take the legal route.

The case was dismissed, but the college authorities are free to inquire into the incidents that led to the punishment. But the court made it clear that the charges against those under probe must be disclosed.

Justice Banerjee also ordered the college to make up for the time the three suspended interns lost.

After the verdict, health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra, who had announced the punishment without explaining the charges, said he had no comments to offer.

“The case is being overseen by the law department,” he said.

The suspension of four interns (Biplab Chandra, Subhankar Chatterjee, Subhajit Ray and Rakesh Sharma) and dismissal of two members of the house staff (Manas Maiti and Dibyendu Saha) followed violent incidents at RG Kar on the night of November 1 in which outsiders beat up patients’ relatives and journalists after a patient’s death sparked trouble.

The six were punished, apparently for their alleged role in the incidents, but the suspicion was that they were paying for their political affiliation or the lack of it.

Three (who went to court) were supporters of the opposition SUCI’s students’ front, the All-India Democratic Students’ Organisation. Two of the other three are former supporters of the CPM’s students’ wing.

A police probe into the incidents drew a blank.

Today, before the junior doctors’ lawyer could present his case, the government’s legal representative said his client had decided to withdraw the order of suspension.

“The government has decided not to contest the case any longer,” said Sumitra Dasgupta.

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