Payal Tadvi suicide case: Bombay HC grants conditional bail to three accused, pulls up Crime Branch for lacunae in chargesheet

Earlier on Tuesday, the high court had pulled up the Maharashtra government for delay in registering statements of key witnesses before the magistrate in the case.

FP Staff August 09, 2019 14:51:15 IST
Payal Tadvi suicide case: Bombay HC grants conditional bail to three accused, pulls up Crime Branch for lacunae in chargesheet
  • The Bombay High Court on Friday granted bail to the three accused doctors in Payal Tadvi suicide case

  • Court had pulled up the Maharashtra government for delay in registering statements of key witnesses

  • Tadvi, who belonged to a Scheduled Tribe community, ended her life in her hostel room at BYL Nair Hospital on 22 May

The Bombay High Court on Friday granted bail to the three accused doctors in Payal Tadvi suicide case — Bhakti Mehre, Hema Ahuja and Ankita Khandelwal. They will have to submit a surety of Rs two lakh and appear before the crime branch every alternate day. However, they will not be allowed to go inside BYL Nair Hospital, where the trio and Payal were interning, the court ruled.

Earlier on Tuesday, the high court had pulled up the Maharashtra government for delay in registering statements of key witnesses before the magistrate in the case. Responding to this, the government lawyer assured the court that the statements will be recorded before the next hearing.

Payal Tadvi suicide case Bombay HC grants conditional bail to three accused pulls up Crime Branch for lacunae in chargesheet

File image of Dr Payal Tadvi. Image/Facebook

A single-judge bench of Justice Sadhana S Jadhav observed that the Crime Branch had also failed to record statements of Tadvi's colleagues, who were made witnesses in the case and are in a vulnerable position at the hospital, and hence, directed the Magistrate Court to ensure the missing statements are recorded at the earliest.

Observing that the material in chargesheet contains several lacunae, the court directed the Crime Branch of the Mumbai Police to record statements of six witnesses, including Tadvi’s roommate, Snehal Shinde, within three days.

The court also noted that the licenses of the accused doctors should be terminated, pending trial.

The high court also questioned the state government for inaction against authorities who were aware of the ragging incidents faced by Payal. The state government in its reply to the court said that action will be taken under  Section 7 of the Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act, 1999.

As per this provision, if the head of an educational institution fails to take action when a complaint of ragging is made, such person shall be deemed to have abetted the offence of ragging.

In this regard, the court queried whether the Crime Branch can frame charges against Dr Yi Ching Ling, head of the Obstetrics and Gynaecology department at Nair Hospital, for abetment of ragging.

SPP Thakare had submitted that the Investigation Officer (IO) in the case is of the prima facie opinion that the suspended doctor, Ling would be liable for disciplinary action as she did not consider complaints made by Payal's mother, husband, and her colleagues, since there was no written complaint under Section 6 of the Act.

Thakare further informed that a recommendation letter for the departmental enquiry against Ling has been prepared by the investigating officer.

Payal, who belonged to a Scheduled Tribe community, ended her life in her hostel room at BYL Nair Hospital on 22 May, allegedly after facing harassment from her seniors due to her caste. The forensic department had recovered a suicide note left behind by Tadvi on her phone.

The post-mortem examination report of Payal's death revealed the evidence of a ligature mark on her neck. Her family alleged that three of her seniors ragged and hurled casteist abuses at her, forcing her to take the extreme step.

The trio was booked under the charges of abetment of suicide and various provisions of the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act in connection with this.

With inputs from ANI and Bar & Bench

 

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