Chhattisgarh HC Rejects Doctor’s Plea to Quash Criminal Case Stemming from Women’s Deaths After Sterilization Surgery

Chhattisgarh high court Law Insider

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Published on: 17 September 2023 at 17:51 IST

Justice Ramesh Sinha of the Chhattisgarh High Court recently emphasized that, during the quashing stage, the court should not delve into the defense of the accused. Instead, it should focus on examining the matter based on the evidence presented.

The case involved a petition filed to quash proceedings against Dr. R.K. Gupta. Dr. Gupta who had performed a Laparoscopic Sterilization Operation on several women at a camp organized by the Community Health Centre in Takhatpur, located at Nemichand Jain Cancer Hospital, Pandri, Sakri, District Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh.

According to the prosecution, after the operation, some women fell ill and were rushed to the hospital. Tragically, some women died, and others became seriously ill due to alleged negligence on the part of Dr. Gupta. Consequently, an offense under Section 304(A) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was registered against him.

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During the investigation, the respondent/state seized a certificate in Form 21(B) issued by the Licensing Authority in Bilaspur, which clearly mentioned Dr. Gupta as a partner of M/s. Kavita Laboratories, Bilaspur.

Additionally, a certificate in Form 26 issued by the State Licensing Authority, Food and Drugs Administration, Raipur, was seized, approving Dr. Gupta as Technical Staff for ‘on testing side.’

These documents indicated that Dr. Gupta was a partner of M/s. Kavita Laboratories, Bilaspur, and was involved in the testing side of the laboratory, showing awareness of the quality of medicines supplied by M/s. Kavita Laboratories during the sterilization camp.

The court stressed that, at the quashing stage, only the prosecution’s material should be considered. The court should not delve into the accused’s defense or weigh the evidence produced. Disputed questions of fact cannot be adjudicated at this stage under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C.).

The prima facie prosecution case should be examined. To substantiate the accused’s defense, evidence should be presented.

The High Court opined that, prima facie, it could not be concluded that no offense was made out against Dr. Gupta. The prosecution should be allowed to present evidence, as women had lost their lives due to substandard medicine supplied by M/s. Kavita Laboratories, Bilaspur, during the sterilization camp.

Consequently, the court dismissed the application to quash the proceedings.

Case Title: Manish Khare v. State of Chhattisgarh

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