Dr Payal Tadvi Suicide: HC grants bail to three accused doctors with riders

Mumbai: In a major relief to the three senior resident doctors of BYL Nair Hospital, accused of abetting the suicide of their junior colleague Dr Payal Tadvi, the Bombay High Court granted them bail on Friday. The HC also said, it won’t expedite the trial, as it wants the trio accused to learn a “hard lesson” and live with a stigma in society.

A single bench of Justice Sadhana Jadhav, ordered the release of Dr Hema Ahuja, Dr Bhakti Mehere and Dr Ankita Khandelwal, on a personal bond of Rs 2 lakh, from each of them. The bench, while granting them bail, also imposed certain condition by directing them not to leave Mumbai. The trio have been asked to report to Nagpada police station every alternate day and also to stay away from BYL Nair Hospital.

Justice Jadhav has also suspended their licences (of medical practice) till the trial concludes. She, however refused to expedite the trial, so that they live with the stigma in the society."The trio is very much proud of their merits and thus I am not inclined to expedite the trial. I also want them to learn a hard life lesson. Let them face the trial and live with this stigma till the end. This would help them in understanding life," Justice Jadhav remarked while ordering their release.

The court further said, it was only because of the "attitude" of this trio that they were facing such serious charges. Justice Jadhav, while hearing the arguments, also slammed the trio for harassing Dr Tadvi, who was a bright student. "I have personally seen her report cards and she has consistently scored above 65 per cent in all her exams. How could these three girls call her a dumb person despite she being a bright student?" Justice Jadhav observed.

"I can say, these girls were insensitive may be because they haven't seen the world and probably were not aware of Dr Payal's background," Justice Jadhav added. The court further said, it is one of the most unfortunate cases. It also said, managements of medical colleges must take steps to bring an end to ragging, which is a common phenomenon in medical institutions."Ragging in medical colleges has been going on for ages and it must be stopped. It is the responsibility of the concerned managements to put an end to this all," Justice Jadhav said.

"Making fun is okay but for how long? These are all socio-psychological issues which cannot be dealt by this court," the court further added. During the course of the hearing, the bench was informed that two of the accused in the case were from Akola and Amrawati districts of Maharashtra while one belonged to Satna from Madhya Pradesh. "If these two girls are from Akola and Amravati, then they should be aware of the problems of the people from these areas and other rural parts of the state. The two may have been carried away by this Satna girl," Justice Jadhav noted.

The court furtther said, after this incident, not many students from rural areas would think of taking admissions in medical colleges. It also clarified, why in the last hearing, it sought to know the line of action the prosecution proposed to initiate against the head of department (HoD) of gynaecology, who had failed to take cognisance of Dr Tadvi's harassment complaint. "The reason why I expected at least a disciplinary action against HoD is because all custodians in all colleges must be aware, it is their duty to protect the students and consider their complaints," Justice Jadhav clarified.

"In this case, the HoD has failed in her duty," Justice Jadhav observed. The court further clarified that since the statements of witnesses in the case have been already video-recorded there is no point of they being influenced to retract.

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