Mumbai: Observing that the medical profession is no more a noble one, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday expressed its displeasure over the attitude of doctors who claim that ragging and ill-treating juniors is common in medical colleges.
The HC made this observation while dealing with the bail applications of the three doctors from BYL Nair Hospital who are accused of abetting the suicide of their junior colleague, Dr Payal Tadvi.
A bench of Justice Sadhana Jadhav also slammed the Crime Branch of Mumbai Police for "loopholes" in the entire investigation. The bench has also ordered the investigating team to record the statements of all relevant witnesses in the case before a magistrate court, as per the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
Notably, the statements recorded under the CrPC before a magistrate are admissible as evidence.
Justice Jadhav's directive to get the statements recorded at the earliest comes after she noted that all the witnesses, upon whom the prosecution has relied, continue to work in the hospital.
"Despite the fact that several colleagues of Dr Tadvi,who were made witnesses in the case are in a vulnerable position now, as they continue to be at the hospital, the Crime Branch has failed to record their statements before a magistrate under the CrPC," Justice Jadhav said.
Accordingly, the bench granted three days' time to the prosecution to get the statements recorded. The bench then voiced its displeasure over the casual attitude of people claiming that ragging is common in the medical field.
"What kind of an attitude is this? If these doctors cannot treat one of theirs in a proper manner, how can one expect them to treat others properly? It appears this is no more a noble profession," Justice Jadhav remarked.
During the course of the hearing, the special public prosecutor, Raja Thakare, also read out the contents of the chargesheet filed against the three doctors - Hema Ahuja, Bhakti Mehere and Ankita Khandelwal.
At this, Justice Jadhav pointed to the statements of the head of the gynaecology department (HoD), who has stated that she had received a complaint from Dr Tadvi's family but they were unable to point out any specific instance of harassment.
Referring to the HoD's statements, the court said that she had shirked her responsibility and could be prosecuted her for this.
"The HoD has clearly shirked her responsibility by refusing to take cognisance of a complaint of harassment made by Tadvi's family members and therefore, she could be added to the list of the accused persons in the case," noted Justice Jadhav.
"I think the investigators have enough power to prosecute her. She has shirked her responsibility by refusing to take any action. Thus, let me know of your stand on acting against the HoD," Justice Jadhav added.
At this, Justice Jadhav said the trio could not make such a plea as they had inflicted continuous "mental injury" on the deceased.
"Usually it is said that physical injury is better than a mental one. But in the case in hand, the deceased and her family raised several complaints before the suicide, the mental injury was seen and it could have been curtailed, yet, no one took any serious note of it," Justice Jadhav observed.
"Thus, you cannot say this is not a case of murder or homicide, for mental injury was inflicted upon her," Justice Jadhav remarked. The judge further asked the prosecution to ensure that the trio's licences are terminated at least till the trial is concluded.