Calcutta High Court (HC) division bench of Justices Mr. Girish Chandra Ghosh and Mr. Shib Sadhan Sadhu has set aside single-bench judgment and allowed an appeal filed by PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, challenging the fraudulent and wrongful selection of Dr. Sukumar Mukherjee for the prestigious Bangabibhusan award in medicine in 2014 by the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal. Despite conviction by the Supreme Court of India and award of highest compensation for gross medical negligence causing death of Anuradha Saha, Bengal government had chosen Dr. Mukherjee for the Bangabibhusan award through a botched selection process in order to restore Dr. Mukherjee’s grossly tainted public image. Allegation against the Mamata Banerjee government also included gross abuse of power and violation of Article 144 of Indian Constitution which mandates that all public and private authorities are duty bound to abide by the observations made by the Apex Court. The Bengal government had also appointed the negligent physician (Dr. Mukherjee) as the “chief adviser” for the health department.
After Dr. Saha challenged the state government’s decision to choose Dr. Mukherjee for the Bangabibhusan award, a single-Judge dismissed his writ petition last year solely on the ground of locus standi without looking into the merit of the case that also included serious allegation of “fraud” by the Mamata Banerjee government. An appeal was moved by Dr. Saha against the said judgment by the single-bench. Dr. Saha also appeared “in person” and argued before the division bench during his visit to Kolkata last month. The division bench today has allowed Dr. Saha’s appeal and set aside the ground of locus standi as held by the single-bench Judge and remanded the case back to the single-bench with direction that the case must be judged on merit including the allegation of fraud against the state government.
As admitted in the response-affidavit filed by the State Govt., Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee headed a 5-member Committee that selected Dr. Mukherjee for the Bangabibhusan award on 17th May, 2014 (Govt. affidavit attached, see page 17-18). Ironically, a day earlier, that is on 16th May, 2014, Kolkata media had already published names of everybody, including Dr. Mukherjee, who received the Bangabibhusan award for the year 2014. Obviously, it was a fraudulent and botched selection by the Mamata Banerjee for the Bangabibhusan award. But the single-judge never considered the serious allegation of deception and fraud by the state government while dismissing the writ petition last year. The court will now have to look into these allegations of fraud and wrongdoings by the state government on merit. Dr. Saha has sough a full CBI investigation of the process for Bangabibhusan award and removal of Dr. Mukherjee from the highest award by the state government.