Ld. Magistrate in Bankshall Criminal Court in Kolkata examined two witnesses and issued processes under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Section 120b (“criminal conspiracy”), 500 (“criminal defamation”) and 501 (“printing defamatory matters”) against West Bengal Medical Council (WBMC) president and Trinomul MLA, Dr. Nirmal Maji and editor of a newspaper in Kolkata. This historic and unprecedented was filed last month by PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, following a public outburst against Dr. Saha by WBMC president in a popular Bengali newspaper because PBT had lodged a complaint with MCI against Dr. Maji who hatched a plan to use the dialysis machine of a tertiary state-run premier hospital (SSKM Hospital) to perform dialysis of Dr. Maji’s pet dog that could have posed serious danger to the thousands of patients who undergo dialysis at the SSKM Hospital. MCI had directed the state medical council to investigate and take appropriate disciplinary action against the WBMC president for his unethical and dangerous conduct. While issuing summons against Dr. Maji, court has fixed 7th March, 2018 for next hearing when Dr. Maji will have to appear before the criminal court.
Bankshall Court in Kolkata took cognizance of a criminal case filed by PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha under IPC Sections 120b (criminal conspiracy), 500 and 501 (criminal defamation) against sitting president of West Bengal Medical Council (WBMC), Dr. Nirmal Maji. This unprecedented criminal case emerged from an appeal lodged by PBT with the MCI against Dr. Maji seeking cancellation of his medical registration after WBMC president planned to dialysis a pet dog in the machine at a tertiary government hospital (SSKM Hospital in Kolkata) using extraneous influence that could have posed serious danger to countless patients who visit SSKM hospital for dialysis everyday. After news was published that MCI had directed the state medical council to investigate and take action against Dr. Maji within a period of 3 months, Dr. Maji started personal attacks and made defamatory comments against PBT and Dr. Saha. A criminal case was lodged against Dr. Maji during Dr. Saha’s trip to India last month. Two new witnesses are scheduled to testify on behalf of PBT and Dr. Saha before the judicial magistrate at Bankshall Court in Kolkata on Wednesday (January 31, 2018). Each of the IPC Section filed against the WBMC president carries a maximum of 2 years of imprisonment, if convicted.
Mamata Banerjee-led Bengal government established a Health Commission last year claiming that the Commission will investigate all complaints of “medical negligence” in a fair and transparent manner. But the senior most medical member selected for this Health Commission is Dr. Sukumar Mukherjee, well-known for his role in causing death of Anuradha Saha from gross medical negligence in the historic case of highest-ever compensation awarded by the Supreme Court a few years ago. The Apex Court not only held Dr. Mukherjee as the most culprit doctor responsible for Anuradha’s death, court also made scathing criticism of Dr. Mukherjee’s character holding him as “unbecoming of a doctor” and that he has brought “utmost disrespect to the medical profession”. But shockingly, Dr. Mukherjee was chosen by the Bengal government to judge allegations of “medical negligence” against all doctors in the state.
PBT challenged nomination of Dr. Mukherjee as a judge in the Health Commission because of his tainted background and also because this act undermines sanctity of the Hon’ble Apex Court in clear violation of Article 144 of Indian Constitution that mandates that all civil and judicial bodies in India must act in aid of Supreme Court. PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, personally appeared before Calcutta High Court last year to argue this PIL on behalf of PBT. After the matter was posted for further hearing this year, Dr. Saha appealed that he may be allowed to appear and argue this matter through “live” videoconferencing from his place of permanent in USA. The HC allowed his appeal and further hearing of this historic PIL started last week when Dr. Saha appeared through videoconferencing from his residence in Columbus, Ohio and argued this matter before a division bench of Justices Mr. Sanjib Banerjee and Mr. Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya. The PIL hearing will continue through videoconferencing for final argument on Tuesday, January 30.
PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, traveled to India and appeared before the National Consumer Forum (NCDRC)last week to argue separate cases of “medical negligence” on behalf of 4 victims who came to PBT seeking justice after losing their loved one from alleged act of medical malpractice. In response to a PIL moved by PBT, Supreme Court of India permitted non-advocates and NGOs to argue as authorized-representative (A/R) in medical negligence cases to help the victims of medical and/or ethical malpractice by doctors and hospitals. In 2009 and 2013, Dr. Saha himself argued the historic case involving his wife’s (Anuradha Saha) wrongful death before the Apex Court and won the highest ever compensation (Rs. 11.5 crore) award against several senior doctors and AMRI hospital in Kolkata. Ever since, Dr. Saha has frequently traveled to India and argued before the Supreme Court and High Courts across India in many important public interest litigations (PILs) against medical corruption and also individual cases of medical negligence. Although while allowing non-advocates to argue before consumer courts, Supreme Court also directed that non-advocates and NGOs may accept up to 25% of the compensation awarded to the victims as service expenses with prior approval from the court, PBT and Dr. Saha have been working and helping the victims of medical negligence completely free of cost. In all 4 cases that Dr. Saha argued before the NCDRC last week including a major case against the Apollo Gleneagles Hospital in Kolkata (seeking compensation of almost Rs. 6 crore), court accepted all complaints prima facie and issued against the accused doctors/hospital (see news below),
PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, testified before Metropolitian Magistrate, Debashis Panja, yesterday in the Bankshall Criminal Court in Kolkata telling that after PBT lodged a complaint with the MCI against Dr. Nirmal Maji, Trinomul MLA and president of West Bengal Medical Council (WBMC), for using his political influence to perform his pet dog’s dialysis at SSKM Hospital, a premier state-run hospital in Kolkata, WBMC president made false and slanderous claim that Dr. Saha has been “cheating” victims of medical negligence through PBT. Maji also threatened Dr. Saha that the state council may cancel license of Dr. Saha who is originally a doctor from Kolkata and registered with WBMC.
Dr. Saha sent a legal notice to Dr. Maji asking him for unconditional apology for making the baseless and defamatory comments. Since Maji did not respond, Dr. Saha lodged a criminal complaint against Maji who has been charged for “criminal defamation” (IPC Section 499/500) and “criminal conspiracy” (IPC Section 120b). The court took cognizance of this unprecedented criminal case against a politically powerful medical council president and testimony started yesterday. The court has fixed January 31 for the next date of hearing when more witnesses will be produced against Dr. Maji. Each of these criminal charges against Maji carries imprisonment for a period of 2 years.
An unprecedented civil suit was filed last week by PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, in Calcutta High Court demanding Rs. 100 crore compensation from the West Bengal government for failure to take any steps against the defamatory statements made by then Justice G.C. De who, while dismissing Anuradha Saha wrongful death case and acquitting all accused doctors in 2004, made blatantly slanderous and false claim that Anuradha died due to “interference” and wrong treatment by her husband. In 2009, Supreme Court not only held all accused doctors responsible for Anuradha’s death but also severely criticized Justice De for making “irresponsible accusations” against Dr. Saha.
After moving a “criminal defamation” case against retired Justice De in 2011, Calcutta High Court directed that the proper “authority”, not any private citizen, may take action for wrongful act against any judge. Dr. Saha then approach the West Bengal Legal Authority (Legal Rememberencer) for taking appropriate action in this matter in view of the Calcutta High Court and Apex Court’s observations but despite repeated pleas, Bengal Law department remained absolutely silent. Thus, this new civil suit seeking compensation of Rs. 100 crore was filed by Dr. Saha against the state government for causing mental trauma and defamation. However, Dr. Saha has given a written undertaking in the same petition that if and when Dr. Saha wins, he will not take a single rupee from this award and the entire money will be donated for public awareness against judicial impropriety and to help victims of medical negligence in India (see news in Statesman below).
The most notorious medical man in India, Dr. Ketan Desai, was caught red-handed by CBI in April, 2010 allegedly for taking huge bribe from a private medical college in exchange of granting permission to admit MBBS students. Soon thereafter, MCI was dissolved by then Congress government under mounting public pressure and a Board of Governors (BOG) was established to run country’s medical education and healthcare delivery system. The BOG summarily suspended Dr. Desai’s medical registration for indefinite period after PBT lodged a formal complaint for professional misconduct. More than 7 years later, Dr. Desai is roaming free on bail as the CBI case against is dragging in Patiala Court and MCI is reluctant to disclose the present status of his medical registration as Desai’s cronies who are occupying top positions in the Indian Medical Association (IMA) are promoting and glorifying Dr. Desai through baseless propaganda and paid advertisements in national newspapers. Even investigation by the Central Vigillence Officer (CVO) found several top MCI/IMA leaders lying before the World Medical Association (WMA) only to promote Dr. Desai. But repeated appeals by PBT to the present BJP-led government to take appropriate action have fallen into deaf ears as MCI refused to take any measures against Desai cronies. PBT is now planning to move a new writ petition against these atrocities in Indian healthcare and medical education system.
Lawyer on behalf of PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, sent a legal notice to West Bengal Medical Council (WBMC) president and Trinomul-Congress MLA, Dr. Nirmal Maji demanding a public apology after Dr. Maji made baseless and slanderous comments last week after MCI directed to investigate Dr. Maji and two other doctors for their role in alleged dialysis of a pet dog at SSKM Hospital, a premier super-specialty government medical center in Kolkata following complaint lodged by Dr. Saha. In an interview published on 15th November, 2017 in a popular Bengali daily Eisamay in relation to the news of dog’s dialysis, Dr. Maji was quoted to have said that Dr. Saha has been “cheating” people of West Bengal through his charitable organization (PBT). In the same interview, Dr. Maji also threatened that WBMC would take steps to cancel medical registration of Dr. Saha who is originally a physician from Kolkata and registered with WBMC although he has been settled permanently in USA (as an HIV/AIDS specialist) for the past more than two decades. The legal notice sent by Dr. Saha’s advocate has further stated that if Dr. Maji fails to send a satisfactory response within 10 days, Dr. Saha may have no other option but to move the court of law for the ends of justice. PBT was established by Dr. Saha in 2001 and over the 16 years, PBT has been helping countless victims of medical negligence to find justice and trying to cleanse the rot in Indian healthcare system through public interest litigations (PILs) in Supreme Court and High Courts across India.
Medical Council of India (MCI) passed an order directing West Bengal Medical Council (WBMC) to investigate complaint lodged by PBT against Dr. Nirmal Maji (WBMC president and MLA who is known to be very close Mamata Banerjee) and two other senior government doctors, for their role in planning dialysis of their pet dog at the SSKM Hospital, a premier state post-graduate medical center in Kolkata. Dr. Maji and SSKM superintendent (Dr. Pradip Mitra) and head of Nephrology (Dr. Rajendra Pandey) were involved in organizing dialysis of a pet dog at the SSKM hospital putting lives of countless patients to serious danger abusing their high governmental positions and political influence in 2015. Fortunately, the news was leaked to the media causing a huge public uproar that prevented final dialysis of the dog in a machine for humans.
PBT lodged a complaint with WBMC for exemplary disciplinary action against the three doctors for their brazenly unethical conduct. After WBMC remained silent for two years, PBT lodged an appeal (under section 8.7 of MCI Code of Ethics & Regulations, 2002) with the MCI seeking action against the three doctors. In its order earlier this month, MCI has referred the case back to WBMC directing them to complete investigation and take appropriate disciplinary action within a period of 3 months. MCI has further said in their order that if WBMC fails to complete investigation within 3 months, PBT may return to MCI for justice. But the obvious question – are WBMC members qualified to conduct a fair and impartial investigation against their own president? PBT has called for investigation by independent doctors from out of state to avoid possibility of the appearance of a conflict of interest (see the news below).
Justice Debansu Basak of Calcutta High Court has directed West Bengal Information Commission (WBIC) to dispose off PBT’s RTI application (Second Appeal seeking medical records of then transport minister, Madan Mitra) as soon as possible and within a period of 4 weeks (see news below). PBT had moved a writ petition after WBIC informed that they are over-burdened and cannot hear PBT’s Second Appeal for 1-2 years although RTI Act, 2005 has clearly stipulated that application for information must be disposed within a maximum period of 30 days.
Mr. Madan Mitra, a close ally of Bengal chief minister, Mamata Banerjee, was arrested by CBI in 2014 in the well-known Saradha Chit Fund scam but instead of staying in jail, Mitra was shifted to SSKM Hospital, premier government hospital in Kolkata, on the alleged ground that Mitra was too sick to stay in jail. Regular media reports showed that Mitra was in no serious medical condition as he was kept in a comfortable air-condition private cabin with regular visits by his friends and family. It appeared that Mitra avoided staying in jail. perhaps with sinister support from doctors at SSKM hospital by virtue of his political influence. After PBT sought Mitra’s medical records (under RTI Act) to be examined by independent outside medical experts, SSKM authority refused to provide any information against which PBT eventually filed the Second Appeal with WBIC as per the provisions in the RTI Act, 2005. After WBIC also remained silent and claimed that they cannot hear the Second Appeal for 1-2 years, PBT was compelled to move Calcutta High Court that has now directed WBIC to dispose off our appeal within 4 weeks time.
PBT filed a new writ petition in Calcutta High Court yesterday against West Bengal Government and top government super-speciality SSKM hospital in Kolkata after they refused to provide any information about why Mr. Madan Mitra, then state transport minister and a close ally of Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, was transferred to a comfortable special unit in SSKM hospital, a premier government medical center in Kolkata, after he was arrested and put in jail by CBI for his alleged role in the well-known Saradha Chit Fund scam in 2014. While Mr. Mitra is now free on bail as the criminal case of Saradha scam is still going on in the court, the question remains whether unlike other ordinary incarcerated criminals who are put in jail by the CBI, Mr. Mitra was able to spend his jail-time in an air-conditioned hospital cabin by virtue of his high political position.
PBT sought medical records of Mr. Mitra from the SSKM hospital (under RTI Act, 2005) after Mr. Mitra was shifted from his jail cell to the SSKM hospital for his alleged medical condition to have the records examined by outside independent medical experts. But neither the SSKM public information officer nor the First Appellate authority of the government hospital bothered even to respond to PBT RTI requests. PBT filed a Second Appeal with the West Bengal Information Commission (WBIC) in 2015, as per the provisions of RTI Act, 2005, but after more than 2 years, the Second Appeal has also remained unanswered by the WBIC. RTI Act, 2005 has stipulated that requested information must be provided within a maximum period of 30 days. Thus, PBT was compelled to move the Calcutta HC seeking direction for providing the requested information to find whether Mr. Madan Mitra was shielded to serve jail time using bogus medical certificate from unethical doctors. The writ petition is likely to come up for hearing next week.
In yet another shocking display of how disgraced ex-MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai, who was caught red-handed by the CBI for taking huge bribe from a private medical college (when Desai was still MCI president), is still holding a firm grip over the healthcare and medical education systems in India – it is reported by the Times of India (click the link: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/videos/Nadda-shares-stage-with-Ketan-Desai-sparks-row/videoshow/45662073.cms) that the sitting health minister of BJP government, J.P. Nadda, was seen sitting close to Dr. Desai during an open public ceremony last week.
It may be noted that Dr. Desai was released on bail by the CBI court in Patiala House in New Delhi in October, 2010 after spending seven months in jail but the criminal trial has been delayed for more than 7 years on one ground or another as Desai is continued to be glorified by his medical cronies in the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and also through his sinister connection with the leaders of the present government. Ironically, Desai’s medical registration was also suspended for indefinite period by the MCI in October, 2010 (after PBT lodged a formal complaint for “professional misconduct”) but despite that, unscrupulous political and medical leaders are still trying hard to bring criminally-indicted Desai back to the helm of Indian medicine.
Indian Medical Association (MCI) and other influential doctor-lobbies are making frequent agitations against attacks on doctors or vandalism of hospitals by irate friends and family members of a victim of “medical negligence”. PBT never supports physical attacks on doctors/hospitals because two wrongs cannot make a right. But have the IMA leaders and members of the medical community in India ever attempted to understand the real or underlying cause of mob attacks on doctors? Who is actually responsible for the present condition of Indian healthcare? In a thought provoking analytical discussion about the glaring problem of attacks on doctors/hospitals, PBT president talks about the underlying reasons for attacks by the hapless victims of medical negligence (read the Hindustan Times article below).
Dr. Ketan Desai, then president of MCI, was caught red-handed by CBI in April, 2010 for taking a bribe of multi-crore rupees from a private medical college in Punjab and he spent next almost seven months in jail before being released on bail. Soon thereafter, Desai’s medical license was suspended for indefinite period by the newly formed Board of Governors (BOG) in MCI after PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, lodged a complaint against Desai for unethical conduct. But more than 7 years later, while still roaming free on bail, Desai regained the position of WMA president with sinister support from his medical cronies who are occupying top posts in the IMA and MCI as the criminal trial against him in CBI court in Patiala House in Delhi is delayed on one ground or another. Ironically, playing the role of a honest and unscathed medical man and head of WMA, Desai along with World Veterinary Association (WVA) issued a joint statement this week calling for Rabies control in the world. This unbelievable saga involving the most corrupt and criminally indicted doctor (Ketan Desai) continues making a total mockery of Indian medical education and healthcare delivery system as the government remains as a silent spectator and IMA/MCI doctor-leaders also continue their relentless attempts to further glorify Dr. Ketan Desai.
A Legal Notice was sent yesterday by PBT president Dr. Kunal Saha’s advocate to the West Bengal Government under Section 80 of Code of Civil Procedures (CPC), 1908 with a demand of Rs. 100 Crore for “defamation” and “vicarious liability” as the government failed to take any action after a judge in Calcutta High Court made slanderous and defamatory comments against Dr. Saha while acquitting three senior Kolkata doctors from all charges of medical negligence who were later found guilty for causing death of Dr. Saha’s wife, Anuradha Saha, by the Supreme Court of India. While holding the doctors guilty for medical negligence in 2009, Apex Court also severely chastised the High Court judge and held that the judge made “irresponsible accusations” against Dr. Saha without any basis whatsoever.
After the Apex Court verdict, Dr. Saha moved Calcutta High Court again in 2011 with a case for “criminal defamation” (under Section 500 IPC) against the first judge for his defamatory and irresponsible accusations. Although High Court dismissed Dr. Saha’s petition on technical ground, the court also agreed with the opinion of the Supreme Court that “irresponsible accusations” were made against Dr. Saha and observed that while a private citizen may not file charges against a judge for making derogatory comments in a judgment, the State may take appropriate action and be vicariously liable for any wrong done on a citizen. But since the Bengal Government remained silent and refused to take any action to bring justice to Dr. Saha, he has now sent this Legal Notice claiming Rs. 100 crore for defamation and vicarious liability. However, in the same Legal Notice, Dr. Saha’s advocate has also categorically stated that Dr. Saha will not personally take a single rupee from this lawsuit and the entire money will be donated for improvement of healthcare system and other benevolent public purposes in India. Under Section 80 of CPC, at least 60 days notice must be given to a respondent before filing a claim suit in the appropriate court.