New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee for removing her name as a respondent in a case questioning Dr Sukumar Mukherjee’s appointment as chief adviser to the state health department.
A bench of Justice R M Lodha and Justice Anil R Dave issued notice to Banerjee on a petition that questioned why her name has been deleted from a case that pertained to a medical officer’s appointment.
The court clarified that the notice should not be construed as though the allegations made against Banerjee have credibility or otherwise.
Holding that the high court had deliberately and actuated by extraneous consideration deleted the name of Banerjee, the apex court wondered what course it could adopt at this stage.
Justice Lodha said: “Surely it is an abnormal procedure adopted by the high court. The high court should have issued notice to her, heard her and then decided if she had contended so (to drop her as a respondent).”
“If you allege mala fide, then the person against whom the mala fide is alleged should be present (to answer the allegations). That is the principle of natural justice,” he observed.
Petitioner Dr Kunal Saha has challenged a Calcutta High Court decision to drop Banerjee’s name as a respondent in the petition.
Senior counsel M N Krishnamani, appearing for Dr Saha, told the court that the high court had erred in deleting the name of Banerjee from the list of respondents without issuing her any notice or calling for response.
Krishnamani told the apex court that being the West Bengal chief minister did not place Banerjee on a higher pedestal compared to other ordinary citizens.
Dr Saha, originally from Kolkata and now an Overseas Citizen of India settled in the US, had challenged the appointment of Dr Mukherjee contending that he was held guilty of medical negligence and for being responsible for the death of his wife Anuradha Saha, a child psychologist based in the US.
Upon being remanded by the apex court, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) had imposed a compensation of Rs 1.7 crore against the hospital and the doctor, the petitioner said.
The Medical Council of India (MCI) too found Dr Mukherjee guilty of medical negligence and had directed the West Bengal Medical Council to suspend his medical registration, Dr Saha said in his petition.
Dr Saha told the court that despite this medical background, Banerjee appointed Dr Mukherjee the “chief advisor” of the state health department, describing him as an “eminent” physician. [Source: IANS]