The mother of Dr Payal Tadvi, a postgraduate gynaecology student who was found dead in her hostel room last May 22, has written to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and the dean of BYL Nair Hospital, asking why action was not taken against the three doctors accused of abetting her daughter’s suicide as per recommendations of the anti-ragging committee of the college where they all pursued postgraduation.
This comes after the Supreme Court last week permitted the three doctors booked in the alleged harassment and abetment of suicide case to continue with their postgraduate studies at BYL Nair Hospital’s TN Topiwala National Medical College, where Tadvi died by suicide on May 22, last year.
Abeda also sought that a review petition be filed before the SC against its order as most witnesses in the case, including hospital staffers and students, are part of the institution where the three doctors – Hema Ahuja, Bhakti Mehare and Ankita Khandelwal – returned to complete their studies on Monday.
After Tadvi was found dead in her hostel room, an inquiry was conducted by the college ragging prevention committee, which observed that she was harassed by her three seniors “in the form of ragging”.
The committee had on May 27, last year, recommended that the three be immediately suspended till further orders. On the same day, the institute had issued an order suspending the three.
However, the lawyer for the three accused argued in the SC that they were suspended due to the pending FIR against them and that the institute was not following the committee’s recommendation. The SC, accepting the contention, said that the suspension was not as per the Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act or the 2009 regulations framed by the Medical Council of India to deal with ragging.
“For over a year, after the committee recommended that the three be suspended, the institute did not take any action. If they were found guilty of ragging, the institute could have taken necessary steps, but it was not done,” Abeda wrote.
As per the 2009 regulations, there are 11 ways to handover punishment in such cases, including suspension from attending classes and academic privileges, cancellation of admission, fine or rustication.
Nair hospital Dean Dr R N Bharmal said: “Action as per anti-ragging committee recommendation was taken against the three. We also submitted this in the court. Their suspension continued until the Supreme Court’s order last week.”
The dean added that the gynaecology department unit head and students have been sensitised about the case. “We discussed with the department head on how to bring them back on duty,” Bharmal said, adding that the college followed due process and regularly held anti-ragging committee meetings post Tadvi’s suicide.
Dr J G Lalmalani, former Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors president, however, said the three accused should have been allowed to pursue education in another college. “It is wrong to deny them education until they are proven guilty,” he added.
On Monday, several organisations, including Democratic Youth Federation of India, Jati Ant Sangarsh Samiti, Forum Against Oppression of Women and Akhil Bharatiya Janwadi Mahila Sanghatana protested outside the hospital.
The three doctors face charges under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) since Abeda in her complaint had said that her daughter faced caste-based discrimination. The family belongs to Tadvi Bhil community, a Scheduled Tribe in the state.
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