The Delhi High Court Friday said that the doctor, who was charged with aggravated sexual battery in the US and subsequently started a private practice in Gurgaon and Delhi, was playing with lives. It had earlier taken suo motu cognizance of The Indian Express report on Narendra K Gupta’s practice. A bench of acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal said the doctor had started his practice without informing the Medical Council of India (MCI). It noted that Gupta had negotiated a plea bargain to avoid a 25-year jail term following his indictment in the US.
The court called it a “desperate” attempt. It added that if he had committed a similar offence in India, not many women, unlike those in US, would have the courage to report it. The Centre’s lawyer said that he had started his practice despite being barred from practicing in the US or any other country. Gupta’s lawyer said that it was unclear whether it was a life-long prohibition, or for 36 months. He said that the MCI was looking into the matter and all documents would be submitted to it.
The court called Gupta’s action “unacceptable” and added that he would have been jailed if he had committed the offence in India and then gone to the US. It asked the doctor’s lawyer whether the American citizen could return to the US. The counsel said he was seeking opinion from American lawyers.
The court directed authorities to submit records, including Gupta’s conviction, settlement and plea bargaining, while listing the matter for hearing on July 19. The court had earlier noted that issues raised in the The Indian Express report are certainly of public importance as they relate to the life and health of citizens. It had referred to the “ill-equipped mechanisms governing medical practice in India and inability of the authorities to detect such cases’’.