Advanced Medicare Research Institute (AMRI) Hospital and three top Kolkata doctors (Sukumar Mukherjee, Baidyanath Halder and Balaram Prasad) were found guilty for medical negligence and causing death of US-based child psychologist and wife of PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha by the Supreme Court on August 7, 2009. The Apex Court remanded the case,seeking a compensation of Rs. 78 crores plus interests since 1998, highest in Indian medico-legal history, only for determination of the quantum of compensation to be paid by the Kolkata doctors/hospital. In addition, the Apex Court also imposed special penalty of Rs. 5 lakh against AMRI Hospital and Rs. 1 lakh against Dr. Mukherjee (the principal culprit doctor) for their “stand taken and conduct”. The Supreme Court also directed to dispose of the case within a period of 6 months.
Almost two years later, the final argument in this historic saga that may have far-reaching consequences on future incidence of “medical negligence” in India started last Monday (July 11) in the National Consumers Forum (NCDRC) in New Delhi before the division bench (court no. 2) presided by Justice Mr. R.C. Jain. Along with senior advocate, Mr. M.N. Krishnaani, Anuradha’s husband and US-based HIV specialist Dr. Kunal Saha, who personally argued the case before the Supreme Court in 2009, appeared before the NCDRC to plead for his case in support of the compensation claimed. Mr. R.K. Anand, attorney who was convicted for collusion and striped of his “senior advocate” designation by the Supreme Court in 2009 in the now infamous “BMW hit-and-run expose” case appeared for the primary accused Dr. Mukherjee who was also present in the courtroom throughout the hearing this week along with the other accused doctor Balaram Prasad. People of India and countless victims of “medical negligence” have been waiting with bated breath for the final judgment in this historic battle against medical malpractice. It is expected that the National Commission would deliver the final verdict deciding the amount of compensation within weeks after the conclusion of the final argument. The matter will resume for final argument before the court at 2:15 pm on Monday (July 18).