The Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission (MSHRC) has issued show-cause notices to five doctors of BYL Nair Hospital, including the three final year gynaecology students arrested for alleged abetment to the suicide of 26-year-old medical student Dr Payal Tadvi, asking why action should not be taken against them in connection to the case.
Notices were also issued to the head of the gynaecology unit Dr YI Ching Ling and head of the gynaecology department Dr S D Shirodkar of the hospital. The commission has observed that prima facie there seems to a case of human rights violation and, in such a case, it may direct payment of compensation to Tadvi’s family.
The MSHRC, which took suo moto cognizance of the matter, based its latest show-cause notice on a report submitted by the dean of Nair Hospital stating that there was negligence on the part of gynaecology unit head in not taking cognizance of the harassment. The report also states that the three final year students — Dr Hema Ahuja, Dr Bhakti Mehare and Dr Ankita Khandelwal — were responsible for ragging and harassing Tadvi, which drove her to commit suicide.
In its notice, the commission said that not only Tadvi, but her family’s human rights were also violated in the case.
Tadvi, who belonged to the Bhil Muslim community, committed suicide on May 22 in a hostel room of the TN Topiwala National Medical College that is attached to Nair Hospital. Her mother registered a police case against the three final year students, accusing them of caste discrimination and harassment. Tadvi had been admitted to the gynaecology course under the Scheduled Tribe (ST) quota.
“Based on the hospital dean’s report and a letter by the victim’s mother, it seems that there is a case of human rights violation. The commission will direct them (the doctors) to pay compensation (to Tadvi’s family) if their response is not satisfactory,” M A Sayeed, a member of MSHRC, said. The show-cause notice, issued under Section 16 of The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, allows a person to be heard if a case affects their reputation.
According to officials at the SHRC, with the case fast-tracked, a decision in the matter is likely to be taken in July.
In its last hearing, on June 12, the commission had observed that Dr Ching Ling was responsible for not taking action after Tadvi’s mother approached her with a complaint of harassment in May this year. The commission also observed that Dr S D Shirodkar should have forwarded the complaint to the hospital’s anti-ragging cell. While Shirodkar was transferred out of Nair Hospital following the incident, Ching Ling was suspended.
Meanwhile, the Mumbai sessions court Monday extended the judicial custody of Mehare, Khandelwal and Ahuja till July 6. The families of the three doctors are yet to make a presentation before the commission.