THE MAHARASHTRA Medical Council has revoked the suspension of the medical licences of two of the three accused doctors booked for allegedly abetting the suicide of Dr Payal Tadvi (27), a second-year postgraduate medical student the BYL Nair Hospital who was found dead in her hostel room on May 22 last year.
In March, the MMC issued the order to revoke their suspension pending inquiry following a Bombay High Court order in February.
Tadvi’s mother, Abeda, who was informed about it last week during the proceedings of an appeal before the Supreme Court, earlier this week wrote to state Minister for Medical Education Amit Deshmukh seeking that the accused’s licences to practice medicine remain suspended till the trial in the case concludes.
“We have made repeated pleas before the MMC to cancel their medical registration licences. It is necessary to keep their licences under suspension till the trial in the case concludes. Over a year since my daughter’s death, the trial is yet to begin, nor have charges been framed against them. We were also not informed about the MMC’s decision to revoke the suspension, which is an injustice towards my daughter,” the letter states.
In her suicide note, Tadvi had named Hema Ahuja, Bhakti Mehare and Ankita Khandelwal, post-graduate medicine students at the BYL Nair College, and said she had been harassed by them. Tadvi had said in the note that it had become ‘unbearable’ for her to carry on with the alleged ‘torture’ meted out to her by the three and that they were responsible for her condition.
The three women were subsequently arrested last year and booked under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act, abetment of suicide, destruction of evidence and common intent under the Indian Penal Code.
While granting them bail in August last year, the Bombay High Court had put forth several conditions including suspension of their licences issued by the MMC till the conclusion of the trial. The three had then filed an appeal before the court last year seeking relaxation of the conditions, including revocation of their suspension. Justice Sadhana Jadhav had in an order passed on February 21 this year recalled the condition of suspension of their licences stating that the court did not have the jurisdiction to order such a suspension.
Ahuja, who is not registered with the MMC but with the medical council of another state, was directed by the Bombay High Court to register with the MMC. The process is pending.
“We had suspended their licences following the directions of the Bombay High Court order and have now issued an order revoking the suspension also following the directions of the honourable court. An inquiry against the three is in progress, notices were issued to them and replies received. Due to the lockdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic, members of the council who reside across the state have not been able to meet. Once a meeting is convened, the inquiry will commence and a decision will be taken as per the rules,” said Shivkumar Utture, MMC president.
Under the MMC Act’s Section 22 (1), if a medical practitioner is found guilty after due enquiry is held by the council, among the actions recommended are a letter of warning, removal of her name from the register for a specific period or permanent removal of her name.
The Bombay High Court order in February had said that in the eventuality that the three are found guilty, the MMC would be at liberty to pass any order as per the section of the Act. The HC had also not allowed the plea filed by the three seeking to continue with their post-graduate studies after the head of the department of Nair Hospital had submitted to the court there was a “grave hostility” towards them at the institute and that a possibility of influencing witnesses, most of them staffers or students of the hospital, could not be ruled out.
An appeal was then filed by the three before the Supreme Court seeking permission to continue with their studies while the matter is pending.
The trial, which has been expedited by the High Court, has been stalled since the lockdown.