New Delhi: In a significant decision, the Supreme Court on Friday, dismissed the petition filed by Dr Kunal Saha that sought the cancellation of the licences of three doctors, who were involved in the medical negligence case that lead to the death of Saha’s wife Anuradha in the year 1998. The court was seen touching the topic of mistakes made by professionals, stating that err is human.
The Bench of Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justice DY Chandrachud observed, “As judges we are humans. We also can commit mistakes. If we are to order what you are demanding, what signal are we sending… for we do not know whether they were actually negligent or not? Only God knows whether they were negligent.”
Dismissing the petition the bench told the doctor that while the was conscious of the anguish caused to him, it was time for him to stop pursuing the case.
“Don’t be agitated. They (hospital and doctors) have been punished already. The incident is 19 years old. Why do you want to agitate the issue further? You are not allowing your wife to rest in peace. Can anybody return your loss? You are not at peace. We want you to be in peace,” Chief Justice Khehar said, reports the Telegraph.
In the year 2013, In the highest ever compensation awarded in a medical negligence case, the Supreme Court had asked Kolkata-based AMRI Hospital and three doctors to pay a whopping Rs 5.96 crore after along with interest ( amounting to a total more than RS 10 crore) to a US-based Indian-origin doctor, Dr Kunal Saha who lost his 29-year-old child psychologist wife during their visit to India in 1998. Of the total amount, Dr Balram Prasad and Dr Sukumar Mukherjee were asked to pay Rs 10 lakh each and Dr Baidyanath Halder was told to pay Rs five lakh to Saha.
Saha however, filed a fresh petition in the supreme court seeking cancellation of the licences of the three doctors involved. Dr Saha who argued in person reports Daily Pioneer, appealed to the court, “There is no gain for me as I have lost everything. I did not approach the court for compensation but to ensure that such doctors do not remain in practice. In the US, if a doctor is charged of negligence, he can lose his certificate of practice. The real deterrent will be if Medical Council terminates the licence of the negligent doctors.”
The court, being careful not to harm the sentiments of the doctor maintained, the Bench tried its best to persuade Saha to settle with what he got as the WB Medical Council had once rejected his demand to terminate the doctors. “In year 2009, we made a declaration that these doctors cannot be prosecuted for criminal negligence but civil damages alone. Then in October 2013, you were awarded the highest compensation. These doctors have been punished, defamed for being negligent and made to pay huge penalty. You must now rest peacefully and not be agitated. Your complaint against the doctors has attained finality. It cannot be reopened after 19 years.”