Doctors should follow their oath in letter and spirit: Allahabad HC to Govt Doctor accused of Corruption
Lucknow: Denying the anticipatory bail plea of a government doctor, the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court recently observed that Corruption was a termite in every system as it enters a system and increases further. Further, reminding that the medical practitioners must follow their oath in letter and spirit, the bench comprising of Justice Krishan Pahal noted, "The...
Lucknow: Denying the anticipatory bail plea of a government doctor, the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court recently observed that Corruption was a termite in every system as it enters a system and increases further.
Further, reminding that the medical practitioners must follow their oath in letter and spirit, the bench comprising of Justice Krishan Pahal noted, "The medical practitioner administer an oath at the time of convocation as provided by Indian Medical Association which is an extension of Hippocratic oath taken the world over. The oath is not merely a formality. It has to be observed and followed in letter and spirit."
Dr Rajeev Gupta, the head of Radio Therapy Department at K.G.M.U had filed the application of anticipatory bail on behalf of his wife Dr. Sunita Gupta, who was the former Sr. D.M.O of Northern Railway (N.R). The bail application had been filed after a complaint was filed under section 109 IPC & Section 13(2) r/w 13(1)(e) of P.C. Act, 1988.
It was alleged that Dr. Sunita Gupta was in possession of disproportionate assets to her known sources of income to the tune of Rs 1,80,96,585 during the period between 2009 to 2016.
This was followed by an investigation, which revealed that Dr. Sunita was posted as Sr. D.M.O of N.R. Division Hospital up to October 2015. After that, she had been serving in MCF, Rae Bareli.
During investigation by CBI, the official residential premises of Dr. Sunita had been searched. At that time, the CBI team had found Rs 1,59,00,000 from the Almirah of the residence. When her husband, Dr Rajeev was questioned about the money, he claimed that the said cash had been earned by him through private practice.
As the explanation given by the doctor was not found to be satisfactory by CBI, the said amount was seized. Although Dr. Rajeev claimed that the CBI team had seized the documents and slips containing the details of the patients who had given the money, CBI refuted such claims.
When order was issued to Dr. Rajeev Gupta asking him to state his source of income, he claimed that the money had been earned by him through private practice. Responding to the order, the doctor claimed that he along with his wife had started a clinic at their residence at Mahanagar. Even though on 24.03.2000, he shifted to the Railway Quarter allotted to his wife, he was continuing his private practice from there. Patients were coming to him for treatment of Cancer, consultancy in Emergency, and he had charged regular fees from the patients.
Further he claimed that he is paid by various doctors, owners of Nursing Home and patients for his professional advice, wherein e had treated cancer patients after office hours. He also named such Doctors and Nursing Homes.
Based on the statement made by the doctor, several witnesses were called and they furnished estimated payments made to the doctor towards treatment of cancer patients done by him. However, when those doctors were asked to furnish documentary evidence pertaining to the details of the patients, they could not do so. They claimed that the data pertaining to the period between 2010-2016 was very old and due to lack of storage area and Medical Council of India guidelines they are not required to maintain records of the period more than 3 years.
The counsel for the doctor contended that the he had been falsely implicated in this matter as the money recovered from his possession was his genuine and hard earned money. At this outset, the counsel relied upon the statements made by various doctors who had been examined by the Investigating officer during the probe.
It was further submitted on the behalf of the doctor that being the Head of Department of Radio Therapy, in K.G.M.U Lucknow, even if the applicant doctor is released on anticipatory bail, he wouldn't misuse the liberty of bail and the applicant was ready to cooperate in trial.
On the other hand, the counsel for CBI vehemently opposed the anticipatory bail application on the ground that the accused had not appeared in court on summons and the application was filed only after bailable warrants had been issued against the applicant.
The counsel for CBI further claimed that the applicant doctor was a radio therapist and in the said field, no such private practice was ever seen.
After taking note of the submissions made by both the parties, the High Court bench noted that the counsel for the applicant had failed to accord any tenable explanation for the recovered amount.
The bench also referred to the Apex Court judgment in the case of Sushila Aggarwal and Others vs. State (NCT of Delhi) and Another, and the Madras High Court judgment in the case of P.S. Kirupanandhan Vs State, where the HC had rejected the submission made by the accused and observed that the explanation offered by the accused must be supported with valid documentary evidences.
Referring to this, the Allahabad HC bench noted, "Hence, the explanation/argument of the accused/other person cited in defence is not tenable/valid and lawful. The arguments tendered on behalf of the applicant are not based on concrete facts but are vague and general. The case is not fit for the anticipatory bail."
"The medical practitioner administer an oath at the time of convocation as provided by Indian Medical Association which is an extension of Hippocratic oath taken the world over. The oath is not merely a formality. It has to be observed and followed in letter and spirit. It is on these lines that the apex medical education regulator, National Medical Commission has suggested that the Hippocratic oath be replaced by 'CHARAK SHAPATH' during the convocation ceremony for graduates in medical services. The medical and legal fields are more a service than a profession especially the stream of oncology which deals with life and death," the bench further observed.
Mentioning that Corruption is the main cause behind all the problems in a system, the court also noted, "Corruption is a termite in every system. Once it enters the system, it goes on increasing. Today, it is rampant and has become a routine. Corruption is root cause of all the problems, such as poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, pollution, external threats, underdevelopment, inequality, social unrest. The menace has to be put to account. The offence is against the society. The Court has to balance the fundamental rights of the accused to the legitimate concerns of the society at large vis-a-vis the investigating agency."
Thus, rejecting the anticipatory bail plea by the doctor, the order further mentioned, "The task of the Court is manifold. Firstly, it has to ensure that there is no unwarranted misuse or abuse of process to encroach upon life and liberty of the applicant as enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution. Secondly, it has to seen that the Rule of law is followed and the administration of justice is not hampered, the guilty is brought to book."To read the court order, click on the link below.
Barsha completed her MA from the University of Burdwan, West Bengal in 2018. Having a knack for Journalism she joined Medical Dialogues back in 2020. She mainly covers news about medico legal cases, NMC/DCI updates, medical education issues including the latest updates about medical and dental colleges in India. She can be contacted at email@example.com.