India Diaspora
Court dismisses NRI doctor's petition under RTI
Apr 5, 2007 - 5:55:13 PM

Kolkata, April 5 - The Calcutta High Court Thursday dismissed a plea under the Right to Information - Act filed by US-based Kunal Saha, who has sued five doctors for the death of his wife, on grounds that he is an NRI and thus not entitled to information under the newly enacted law.

Justice Dipankar Datta dismissed Saha's writ petition against the West Bengal Medical Council - and their president Ashok Chowdhury, seeking documents that the council was said to have obtained in the course of their investigation into a complaint against three senior Kolkata doctors.

The doctors are Sukumar Mukherjee, Abani Roychowdhury and Baidyanath Halder who he has accused of medical negligence and causing the death of his wife Anuradha during a visit to Kolkata in May 1998.

A separate appeal against the WBMC findings and the 'biased' attitude of the WBMC president is currently pending before the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court on March 30 last year admitted a Rs.1.43 billion compensation claim by the US-based AIDS researcher, the highest in the country till date.

The claim was filed against five doctors - Mukherjee, Halder, Roychowdhury, Balaram Prasad and Kausik Nandy - and the AMRI hospital in Kolkata.

In June 2006, the Delhi-based National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission - had dismissed Saha's compensation case after seven years of hearing.

Not only did the apex court admit the appeal against the NCDRC judgment Friday, it also directed that the appeal be tagged along with a criminal case currently pending with the Supreme Court against Mukherjee, Halder and Roychowdhury.

Along with the compensation case, Saha had also filed a 'criminal negligence' case under the Indian Penal Code against the three senior doctors.

The Alipore trial court in Kolkata had found Mukherjee and Halder guilty of criminal negligence and sentenced them to three months' rigorous imprisonment with a fine Rs.3,000 on May 29, 2002. The Calcutta High Court later reversed the conviction in March 2004.

However, in September 2005, the Supreme Court had admitted a special leave petition filed by Saha against the Calcutta High Court judgment. The 'criminal appeal' by Saha is currently pending with the apex court.

Saha has already given a written submission in the court that he would spend the entire compensation money, if and when he wins, for the promotion of healthcare in India. He has formed the People for Better Treatment -, a humanitarian society to help victims of medical negligence.

An HIV/AIDS specialist in Columbus, Ohio, Saha is in India now.

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