Two years after a patient’s son ‘attacked’ a doctor at civic body-run Sion Hospital over complaints of improper treatment, a sessions court recently acquitted him of all charges.
Sunil Kale (28) was booked under the Maharashtra Medicare Service Persons and Medicare Service Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage or Loss to Property Act), 2010, a special act passed by the state for prevention of violence against doctors by patients’ kin. Kale was also booked under sections 353 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code for using criminal force against a public servant and criminal intimidation.
The court, however, said no proof was submitted to prove that the doctors named in the FIR were working in Sion Hospital as public servants. The court also relied on the deposition of the investigating officer and observed that no statements were recorded of any independent witnesses.
According to the prosecution, Prakash Kale, who was admitted in Ward 6 of Sion Hospital on May 11, 2017, died during treatment. The complainant in the case, Dr Ajay Athawale, who had attended the patient, declared Kale’s death to his wife and sons. The accused, Sunil, the elder son of the patient, allegedly shouted at the doctor, stating that the hospital management was not good and that the doctors were not taking proper care of the patients. It is further alleged that Sunil caught hold of the doctor’s collar, pushed him and tried to assault him, but was stopped by his younger brother. The doctor alleged that the accused had threatened him, saying, “Baher bhet, tula bagun gheto (You meet me outside, I’ll see you)”.
Sunil was arrested on May 15.
The court, while considering the deposition of Dr Athawale, said he had made ‘contradictory’ statements on whether the accused held his collar by his right hand or left. The security guard of the hospital, who was also a witness, admitted that he had not seen the accused hold the doctor’s collar and that he had not stated the exact time of the incident in his statement, nor mentioned about the alleged threat given by the accused.
The court held that the police had not examined any witnesses who conducted the panchnama after the incident. “The investigating officer has admitted that she has not collected any proof about the service or Dr Athawale. Therefore, there is no proof on behalf of the prosecution to show that he was working in Sion Hospital as a public servant. There is no corroborative evidence to the oral evidence of the complainant (doctor),” the court held.