Payal Tadvi suicide case in HC: Medical council’s response sought on suspension of accused’s licence

Sadaf Modak
Payal Tadvi, Payal Tadvi suicide, Mumbai city news, Mumbai, maharashtra Human Rights Commission, B Y L Nair Hospital, Payal Tadvi suicide case probe

Dr Payal Tadvi worked at BYL Nair Hospital.

THE BOMBAY High Court on Wednesday directed a notice be issued to Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC) for its response on an application filed by three doctors accused of abetting the suicide of Dr Payal Tadvi in May last year, seeking relaxation in suspending their medical licences.

While granting them bail in August last year, the high court had said the licences of the accused — Hema Ahuja, Bhakti Mehare and Ankita Khandelwal — would remain suspended till the trial concludes.

In November last year, the accused had approached the HC seeking relaxation in some of the conditions imposed, including not allowing them to leave the city, reporting to the crime branch every alternate day and not entering the BYL Nair Hospital. They had also sought permission to be allowed to pursue further studies.

On Wednesday, Abad Ponda, appearing for the three doctors, said the accused were already facing an inquiry and had received notices from the medical council — an inquiry is underway to determine whether their licences should be cancelled. He added that the accused had received the notices from the council a day before their arrest in May and since they were in custody they could not respond to it till they were granted bail.

The application filed by the accused also states that a request to revoke their suspension was denied by the BYL Nair Hospital on October 25, stating that the HC has suspended the licence.

Justice Sadhana Jadhav on Wednesday said she had issued a judicial order to suspend the licences of the accused as the MMC had not taken any action. The court said the council must be directed to come prepared for the next hearing on the application.

It also said that it will consider relaxing conditions, including reporting before the police every alternate day, the council's response is to be sought on the issue of their licences.

Payal was found dead in her hostel room at Nair Hospital on May 22 last year. A suicide note found later stated that she was being harassed by the three senior doctors.

The three accused were booked under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act, abetment of suicide, destruction of evidence and common intent under the Indian Penal Code. Payal’s mother, Abeda, had said in her complaint that the accused had harassed her daughter as she belonged to the Tadvi Bhil community, a Scheduled Tribe.

The special court, which will conduct the trial in the case, Wednesday said “as per confidential communication received from Honourable High Court, matter is expedited” and directed the accused, informant and the prosecution to take note of it.