For the past several years, PBT president Dr. Kunal Saha, a permanent resident of USA, travels to India every year to appear and argue in consumer courts on behalf of victims of medical negligence who come to PBT to help them find medical justice. Supreme Court of India had already said categorically that non-advocates and NGOs are permitted to argue on behalf of others before the consumer courts in India. PBT lodged a contempt case against National Consumer Forum (NCDRC) in 2012 for not framing rules for non-advocates to appear for victims of medical negligence and Apex Court had directed NCDRC to frame such rules to allow so that non-advocates and NGOs can represent consumers including victims of medical negligence as “authorized representative” in NCDRC, State and District Consumer Courts.
When Dr. Saha came last December and appeared to represent victims of medical negligence before the West Benga State Consumer Commission, he was viciously attacked by large number of lawyers who wanted him to be ousted from the court. Police complaint was lodged and a writ petition was filed in Calcutta High Court in which notice was issued to the State Consumer Court. When Dr. Saha appeared before the Kolkata Consumer Court last week for an alleged victims of medical negligence, he again faced brutal attack from the lawyers appearing for the accused doctor and hospital who demanded that Dr. Saha be barred from the consumer court. The Kolkata State Consumer Court passed an order directing the protesting lawyers to file a formal application seeking to bar Dr. Saha on next day of hearing on 17th July, 2019 (see Order below). But when this matter came up on 17th July, 2019, the same lawyers wanted more time to file the application knowing well that Dr. Saha lives in USA and cannot be staying in India for indefinite period of time. However, court has given more time for the advocates (for doctor/hospital) to file application. Other cases where Dr. Saha has appeared to plead for the victims of medical negligence, advocates for doctors/hospitals have routinely started to clamor with the unlawful claim that Dr. Saha should not be allowed to appear for victims of medical negligence. PBT and Dr. Saha has given sworn affidavits many times in the past stating that all the help that they have been providing victims of medical negligence including Dr. Saha’s travel and stay in India and his personal appearance in court are done completely free of cost at PBT and Dr. Saha’s own expense. The main question that writ at large : Why are the powerful advocates representing the accused doctors and hospitals are fighting to stop Dr. Saha to argue in court on behalf of victims of medical negligence? Does the powerful medical lobby including the Indian Medical Association (IMA) have any role in this shocking attacks against Dr. Saha?