HC’s no to stay on panel probing Jaya’s death

Chennai: The Madras High Court today refused to stay the probe by Justice (retd) A Arumughaswamy commission on the medical treatment given to former Tamilnadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa at Apollo Hospitals. The Court directed the State government and the Commission to file their counter affidavits by Friday to writ petitions filed by Apollo.

The one-man Commission of Inquiry set up in 2017 to look into the circumstances leading to Jayalalithaa’s hospitalisation and her subsequent demise has questioned top bureaucrats, ministers, and MLAs so far. As part of its ongoing case proceedings, the Commission had issued to summons to Apollo doctors who had treated the former Chief Minister.

But after a lot of back and forth, Apollo Hospitals on 9 February accused the Commission lacks’ impartiality and objectivity’ and sought a direction to stop the commission of inquiry (CoI) from probing the adequacy or correctness of the medical treatment given to her during her hospitalisation in September-December 2016.

Hearing the case today, a Division Bench of Justices R Subbiah and Krishnan Ramasamy refused to stay the probe and said a decision on passing interim orders would be taken only after filing of the counter-affidavits by the State government and Arumughaswamy’s Commission of Inquiry.

In his preliminary arguments today Advocate General Vijay Narayan contended that the Commission was authorised to inquire into medical aspects too.

Earlier during the hearings Apollo hospitals contended that its reputation was likely to be prejudicially affected due to the inquiry. The hospital’s petition said, “The examination in chief by the Commission has progressively become accusatorial questioning the integrity and even medical knowledge and competency of the medical witnesses of the petitioner.”

Apollo said that doctors found it a great challenge to explain the complexity of medical and scientific facts and protocols and procedures, adopted during the treatment, to the Commission of Inquiry which did not have the assistance of a team of qualified medical professionals. So far, 55 doctors from close to 21 different specialities have deposed before the Commission, Apollo stated.

NT Bureau