Officials said the MMC will assess whether Section 22 of the Maharashtra Medical Council Act, 1965, which allows the council to de-register doctors over misconduct, will be applicable in the case. (Representational Image)
The Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC) is slated to initiate hearing within two months against two of the three women doctors accused of abetting the suicide of their junior colleague Payal Tadvi. The MMC is a quasi-judicial body that regulates ethical practice of doctors and has authority to register, suspend or cancel licence for medical practice.
Officials said the MMC will assess whether Section 22 of the Maharashtra Medical Council Act, 1965, which allows the council to de-register doctors over misconduct, will be applicable in the case. “If there is violation of the code of ethics or conviction by a criminal court for an offence, the council can suspend or cancel their licences,” an MMC official said.
The three doctors, all third-year resident doctors of gynaecology in BYL Nair hospital, have been accused of abetting the suicide of and harassing their junior Dr Payal Tadvi, a second-year student who committed suicide in her hostel room in May last year.
After their arrest last year, the MMC issued notices to Bhakti Mehare and Ankita Khandelwal for a hearing, while it wrote to Uttar Pradesh Medical Council to start a similar inquiry against He-ma Ahuja, who is registered in UP.
“The MMC issued notices to the three doctors, but by then the High Court had suspended their licences. They replied in August after getting bail. We can initiate inquiry against two of them. For the third doctor UP council will have to issue summons,” Dr Shivkumar Utture, chairperson of MMC, said. The council was awaiting the HC’s directions before initiating an inquiry, Utture added.
In August 2019, the Bombay HC had, while granting bail to the three doctors, directed them to not enter the civic-run BYL Nair hospital where the incident took place and had also suspended their medical licence till the end of the trial. On Friday, the high court revoked their suspension.
The MMC is slated to hold an executive committee meeting in March and start the hearing from March-end or early April. According to MMC registrar, the code of ethics under the MMC Act defines how a relationship between co-workers in a hospital should be maintained.
Tadvi, who belonged to Tadvi Bhil community from Jalgaon, was allegedly victim of work harassment and ragging in the hospital. She had gained admission under SC/ST quota. Her mother Abeda has claimed that Tadvi was a victim of caste-based harassment, denied work by the three accused doctors in the labour ward, and forced to do clerical job in the department. A complaint was also made to the unit head of TN Topiwala National Medical College, but no action was taken against the three accused.
The three doctors have been booked under Section 306 for abetment to suicide, Section 201 for destruction of evidence and under the SC/ST Act and Maha-rashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act.