Jayalalithaa Death Probe: HC reserves orders on Apollo Hospitals plea
"Even assuming that the allegations are true, what stopped the panel to report the same to the government, which could have pulled Jayalalithaa out of the hospital and admitted her in any other hospital in India or abroad?"
Chennai: The Madras High Court recently reserved its orders on a petition of the Apollo Hospitals, seeking quashing of proceedings related to two Government Orders of September 2017 over treatment given to former chief minister Jayalalithaa before her death.
The division bench, comprising Justices R Subbiah and Krishnan Ramaswamy, said it was reserving the orders after hearing counsels representing the Apollo Hospitals, the Justice A Arumughaswamy Commission and the government.
The Apollo Hospitals submitted that this was the first time in independent India that a Commission of Inquiry was allowed to go into the correctness of the medical treatment given to a political leader.
Senior counsel P S Raman, who appeared on behalf of the hospital, submitted that their team had done extensive research over the past three days but could not find a single precedent in the country.
"However, internationally in 1980 when an African leader died after hospitalization in a government hospital, such an inquiry was done, that too in view of the then prevailing political situation," he said.
Alleging that the Commission was constituted only for political reasons, he sought to know how any hospital would provide and accept giving treatment to any such leader in future if such a probe was ordered to go into the correctness of the treatment given.
Reiterating that the people are concerned with the circumstances that led to the hospitalization of the former Chief Minister, the counsel said people are not concerned with the treatment given by the hospital to Jayalalithaa.
On the charge that the five-member government-appointed medical panel was not allowed to treat Jayalalithaa when she was in Apollo, the senior counsel said: "the panel was appointed only to supervise and monitor, not to treat."
"Even assuming that the allegations are true, what stopped the panel to report the same to the government, which could have pulled Jayalalithaa out of the hospital and admitted her in any other hospital in India or abroad?" he asked.
Referring to the opinion of the government-appointed doctors that if angioplasty was performed her life could have been extended, Raman said doctors from AIIMS and foreign experts had clearly said Jayalalithaa would not survive the surgery.
He sought to know on what basis they had arrived at such an opinion "when they say they have not even examined Jayalalithaa and one of them is even not a doctor, but only a biochemist."
Claiming that the existence of a 'panel of doctors' appointed by the commission was not known to anyone till the same was submitted in its counter affidavit, Raman wondered whether the panel was sitting in the next room and doing 'espionage' during the proceedings.
Opposing the contentions, senior counsel for the commission A R L Sundaresan submitted that the Commission's final report would not be binding on anyone and the hospital was free to challenge it.
Recording the submission, the bench reserved its orders.
Jayalalithaa passed away on December 5, 2016, over two months after being treated for various complications, including infection, since September 22.
The state government had set up the inquiry commission headed by retired High Court judge A Arumughaswamy to look into the circumstances leading to the death of the late AIADMK supremo, citing doubts expressed by various people.