Kunal Saha, the non-resident Indian doctor who challenged the appointment of a doctor found guilty of medical negligence as adviser to the West Bengal Health Department, has welcomed the Supreme Court’s order issuing notice to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

In September, Dr. Saha approached the Supreme Court against the Calcutta High Court not issuing notice to Ms. Banerjee and asking that she be not made a party to the case.

“I am very pleased at the order that justifies that all persons, including the Chief Minister, are equal before the law. Now, Ms. Banerjee will have to explain to the people the reason for appointment of such a doctor as an adviser to the Health Department,” Dr. Saha told The Hindu on the phone from Ohio.

In July, the Health Department issued a notification appointing Sukumar Mukherjee ‘Chief Adviser’ of the Institute of Health and Family Welfare, an autonomous body in the Health Department. Dr. Saha moved the High Court with a public interest litigation petition challenging the appointment on the grounds that Dr. Mukherjee was found guilty of medical negligence in the treatment of his (Dr. Saha’s) wife Anuradha Saha.

Dr. Saha was awarded a compensation of Rs. 1.73 crore by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in October 2011 for the death of his wife in May 1998 while she underwent treatment at a city hospital. “I was deeply hurt when Ms. Banerjee decided to appoint Dr. Sukumar Mukherjee as an adviser … I still do not know the reason…,” he said. “I also wrote to Ms. Banerjee, who is also Health Minister, in April, seeking that his appointment be cancelled, but I got no response …”

“Promoting Dr. Mukherjee to act as an adviser … will send a distasteful, negative message to the public … This will also bring ignominy to the entire medical community of West Bengal.”

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