In a historic and unprecedented order passed against Dr. Alok Khan, an neurosurgeon from Kolkata accused of causing death of a patient from a botched brain surgery, division bench presided by Justice D.K. Jain, president of the National Consumer Forum (NCDRC), has directed Dr. Khan and the nursing home (owned by Dr. Khan) to pay a penalty of Rs. 1 lakh “for their absence before the State Commission as well as for the delay in the complaint attaining finality” (see the NCDRC Judgment below).
Shamali Sikdar, widow of the alleged victim, came to PBT in 2012 seeking help in her quest for justice after her husband died following a botched surgery for a non-malignant brain tumor. Dr. Kunal Saha, PBT president, argued before the State Commission in West Bengal on behalf of the victim while the accused doctor delayed the proceedings for years by not accepting legal notice from the court. The State Commission eventually delivered an ex perte verdict last year awarding Rs. 25.5 lakh (including Rs. 50,000 as legal cost) against Dr. Khan against which the doctor moved the NCDRC. While remanding the case back to the State Commission to give an opportunity to the accused doctor to put up his defense, NCDRC has also directed that the matter must be completed within a period of 6 months. Further, considering PBT’s benevolent attempt to pro bono help for the victim and Dr. Saha’s situation, NCDRC has also directed that the State Commission should consider the fact that Dr. Saha is generally a resident of USA while fixing the hearing dates.