MAINTAINING THAT the three resident doctors booked for allegedly abetting the suicide of Dr Payal Tadvi would have to “bear the guilt for the rest of their lives”, the Bombay High Court on Friday granted them bail. The court, however, said that their licences, issued by Medical Council of India and the Maharashtra Medical Council, shall remain suspended till the conclusion of the trial.
“They will have to bear the guilt for the rest of their lives, that a young girl had committed suicide because of their attitude,” Justice Sadhana Jadhav said while hearing arguments for the bail application filed by Dr Hema Ahuja, Dr Bhakti Mehare and Dr Ankita Khandelwal.
The resident doctors, postgraduate students of gynaecology at TN Topiwala National Medical College, were arrested on May 29 on charges of ragging and caste-based harassment, which purportedly led Tadvi, their junior, to commit suicide. She was found hanging in her hostel room on the medical college’s premises on May 22.
The bail was granted on the condition that the three accused shall not leave Mumbai without the permission of the court and report to the crime branch office in Nagpada every alternate day till charges are framed. They have also been asked not to enter the jurisdiction of Agripada police station. Nair Hospital and TN Topiwala National Medical College are located in Agripada.
The court further said that the accused would have to attend court on every occasion unless exempted. “Upon committing breach of any condition imposed herein, the investigating agency would be at liberty to seek cancellation of bail,” it added.
The bail was granted after Special Public Prosecutor Raja Thakare told the court that looking at the allegations and charges, conditional bail can be granted. The three doctors were represented by advocates Aabad Ponda and Shailesh Kharat.
On the castiest slurs made by the accused against Tadvi, Justice Jadhav wondered how families from rural areas would send their children to such colleges after such an incident. The three doctors were “young and insensitive”, “they have not seen the world”, the court said.
It added that as Mehare and Khandewal are from Maharashtra, they should have known the situation of the students who leave their house and come to the city to practice. But they got carried away by Ahuja, who is from Satna in Madhya Pradesh, said the court.
“Ragging is going on for ages in medical colleges, there should be an end to it someday,” it said.
On the request of expediting the trial, the court said that it has no sympathy for the three accused, and so it will not pass any such order. “Let them be in public domain,” it added.
Meanwhile, the special public prosecutor informed the court that the investigating agency has recorded the statement of Tadvi’s roommates and colleagues under Section 164 of the CrPC. Under this provision, any metropolitan magistrate or judicial magistrate may record any confession or statement made to him in the course of an investigation.
These statements were submitted to the court. After reading them, Justice Jadhav said, “Delay has affected the content of the statement.”
The court added that it has noticed certain discrepancies in the statement of prime witness regarding the head of the department.
The three resident doctors are at present lodged in Byculla Women’s Jail and are likely to be released on Saturday.