The Supreme Court Thursday permitted three lady doctors, who are accused in a case of suicide by a doctor of Mumbai-based medical college last year due to alleged caste-based discrimination, to go back to the college and hospital to pursue their studies of post graduate medical course.
The three doctors, who are pursuing post graduate medical course in Gynaecology and Obstetrics and have completed two years out of three years course are accused of harassing Dr Payal Tadvi who had committed suicide on May 22 last year.
Tadvi was a student of post graduate degree course in Gynaecology and Obstetrics in the college and had completed first year of the course in April last year.
The apex court relaxed one of the conditions imposed on them by the Bombay High Court, which had granted them bail in August last year and said that they shall not enter into the jurisdiction of the concerned police station and more particularly the college.
A bench headed by Justice U U Lalit, which said these doctors must be allowed to go back to their study, imposed several conditions on them including that they shall not influence or even attempt to influence any of the witnesses in any manner and shall present themselves on each dates before the trial court, unless their presence is specifically exempted.
"While balancing the competing claims, in our view, the appellants (doctors) must be allowed to go back to their courses of study otherwise the pendency of prosecution against them will add further penalty in the form of prejudicing their career. Any such adverse impact will negate their rights under Article 21 of the Constitution," the bench, also comprising Justices Vineet Saran and Ajay Rastogi, said in its judgement.
The top court delivered the verdict on an appeal filed by these three doctors against the February this year order of the high court which had refused to relax one of the conditions imposed on them in August last year while granting them bail in the case.
It noted the stand of the Medical Council of India that under no circumstance migration is permissible for students undergoing post graduate medical courses.
"We are, thus, called upon to consider the competing claims in such a way that the individual rights of the appellants to pursue their courses of study are secured and, at the same time, the conduct of prosecution also runs smoothly and without any interference and possibility of witnesses getting won over," it said.
"Considering the matter in its entirety and especially when the appellants have to undergo training under the same guide and in the same institution where they were registered, in our considered view, ends of justice would be met if condition no. (iv) as laid down by the high court is relaxed and the appellants are permitted to go back to the college and the hospital to pursue their studies, subject to the following conditions...," the bench said.
The top court said its order shall come into effect at the beginning of the second term of academic session 2020-2021 and if such term has already begun, it shall come into effect from October 12 this year.
It said these three doctors shall be permitted to pursue their courses of study regardless of the May last year order of suspension, which was passed by the college while taking cognisance of the FIR registered against them.
The bench noted these doctors were arrested in connection with the case in May last year.