The accused have been suspended from the Nair Hospital, he said, adding that they just want to complete their education.
Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Thursday directed its registry department to make arrangements for the video recording of the bail application hearing of three senior doctors, arrested for allegedly abetting the suicide of their junior colleague Payal Tadvi (26), on July 30.
Justice D.S. Naidu issued the directive after advocate Gunratan Sadavarte, who appeared on behalf of the deceased’s mother Abeda, pointed out that as per the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, court proceedings in such cases should be recorded. Though Mr Sadavarte had pointed this out before the sessions court, it had decided the accused’s bail pleas without video recording the proceedings as arrangements for the same could not be made.
On Thursday, the lawyer of the accused — Hema Ahuja, Bhakti Meher and Ankita Khandelwal, who were arrested on May 29 — Aabad Ponda argued before the court that the provision was only for trial proceedings and not bail hearings. Justice Naidu, however, said ‘proceedings’ would mean all judicial proceedings. He observed that Section 15 (a) (10) of the SC/ST Act mandates that all proceedings under the Act have to be video recorded by the court concerned.
“I cannot ignore the statutory provisions. While I am sympathetic towards the fact that this would mean a delay in hearing the bail pleas, it is also imperative that the provisions of the Act are followed,” said the judge. The judge then posted the petitions for hearing on July 30.
During the hearing, Justice Naidu also said that as a judge, he was in favour of recording court proceedings and that he uses his mobile phone to record lawyers’ arguments in important cases.
Mr Ponda, while seeking bail, argued that the accused were educated persons and not criminals. He argued, “We know that something unfortunate has happened and a woman has lost her life. But life has to go on. We will face trial.”
The accused have been suspended from the Nair Hospital, he said, adding that they just want to complete their education. He also contended that the police was relying heavily on the suicide note recovered from Tadvi’s mobile phone and this note speaks about harassment meted out with regard to work. “There is no whisper about caste or that the accused made remarks about her caste,” argued Mr Ponda.
Tadvi, a second-year postgraduate medical student attached to BYL Nair Hospital, ended her life in her hostel room on May 22.