Dr Kunal Saha, who has been awarded highest ever compensation by the Supreme Court (SC) from a private hospital in Kolkata and its doctors for medical negligence that resulted in the death of Saha’s wife Anuradha, has been embroiled in a prolonged legal battle in Gujarat against former president of Medical Council of India (MCI) Dr Ketan Desai.
The fight is being carried out under the banner of People for Better Treatment (PBT), the organisation founded by Saha after death of his wife to initiate “a movement to eradicate medical negligence and to promote corruption-free healthcare in India”.
Desai was arrested by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2010 with corruption allegations of taking bribe of Rs 2 crore from a medical college and of possessing disproportionate assets. Later, Desai was reportedly given a clean chit by CBI in the case. Following the arrest, Saha had moved an application before MCI to get Desai’s medical licence suspended. Desai’s licence was subsequently suspended by MCI.
However, later Desai was made the head of the Urology Department of BJ Medical College in Ahmedabad. He was also elected unopposed to the Senate of Gujarat University on a seat reserved for registered medical practitioner.
Saha — an MD, PhD — who is based in Ohio in the United States and a researcher in HIV/AIDS challenged Desai’s election to the GU senate before the Gujarat High Court (HC) in a PIL filed through PBT. Saha had challenged the election contending that Desai could not be elected on the seat as his licence to practice medicine was suspended by MCI. However, the PIL was rejected by the HC.
Saha challenged the HC verdict before the SC and the apex court disposed of the same with a direction to Saha to avail alternate remedy of approaching university authorities. According to Saha’s lawyer Ravish Bhatt, following the SC directive and after a long round of litigations, Saha’s application to the Education Secretary of Gujarat Government was pending. Saha has also written to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Gujarat Governor Kamla Beniwal seeking their intervention in the matter of Desai’s election to the senate of Gujarat University.