Doctors accused of causing minor’s death granted bail
LAHORE, July 9: The Lahore High Court on Monday released four young doctors on bail who were accused of causing death of a minor patient at the Mayo Hospital during their strike, directing them not to indulge in any protest in future.
In a jam-packed courtroom, Justice Ijazul Ahsan held lengthy proceedings on the bail petition of the arrested doctors and another plea seeking cancellation of the murder FIR before granting interim bail to the accused doctors till July 16. The judge allowed the bail against furnishing of Rs100,000 bonds each and also directed them to join police investigation.
Earlier, in the morning a judicial magistrate had sent the four accused – Dr Matloob Ahmad, Dr Usmanul Haq, Dr Muhammad Tajammul and Dr Muhammad Adil, to jail on judicial remand.
During the course of hearing in the high court, the complainant and father of the deceased minor boy, questioned impartiality of the court and requested the judge to refer the case to any other judge. He said the young doctors had been influencing the court’s proceedings and he had lost his trust in the court.
“If you want to release the doctors then refer the case to any other judge,” Muhammad Afzal, the complainant, asked the judge and started crying.
Justice Ahsan, however, observed that the court was independent and justice would be done without any fear or favour.
Afzal also alleged that he was being harassed by the doctors for pursuing the case. He told the court that many people witnessed the doctors pulling drips of patients in the children ward of the Mayo Hospital. He said his only child had been killed by the accused doctors.
Complainant’s counsel Advocate
Shamimur Rehman Malik also questioned the hearing of the bail petition and argued that the accused doctors should file the bail petition before the court of first instance (magisterial court) instead of approaching the high court directly.
The counsel pointed out that it would be the first case of its kind in the judicial history of Pakistan in which a petition for cancellation of an FIR was moved and decided by a court in a day.
He pleaded that he should be allowed ample time to prepare arguments against the bail petitions. He said his client was being discriminated as the principle of equality before law
was not being observed in the instant case. He said it was a routine practice to issue notice at first instance in such cases. Advocate Malik said due process of law was fundamental
right of a citizen under the Constitution but it was being violated by taking up the matter in such haste. He said a murder case could be quashed only if no offence was committed or no incident took place at all. But, in the instant case the doctors had not denied the occurrence at the hospital, he argued.
Additional Advocate General Faisal Zaman also argued that the bail petition should be filed at the appropriate forum. He said the accused doctors should be treated like ordinary accused. He said if the court wanted to give any advantage to the accused, it could order completion of investigation within two or three days.
The law officer admitted the high court could grant bail in its writ jurisdiction under Article 199 of the Constitution. However, he said the due process should be followed.
A public prosecutor, Abdul Samad, also opposed the bail petition and asked the court to not to entertain the plea at this stage of the case.
Earlier, Advocate Raja Zulqarnain, representing the Young Doctors’ Association, urged the court to release the accused doctors on bail and also order quashing of the murder FIR.
He said the FIR was a result of ‘ulterior motives’ of the Punjab government.
He said two of the accused doctors were not present at the scene as police had already arrested them from Services Hospital during a crackdown. The other two doctors nominated in the FIR were out of city that day, he added.
He alleged that the government and the prosecution were using delaying tactics as the body of the deceased minors had not been exhumed so far. Advocate Zulqarnain further argued that doctors could not be booked under Section 302 of the PPC as they enjoyed immunity under Section 29 of the Punjab Health Care Commission Act 2010.
After hearing the parties’ counsels, Justice Ijazul Ahsan granted interim bail to the accused and issued a notice to state for July 16.
The arrested doctors were accused of pulling a drip tube’s needle out of vein of one and a half year old Fahad Husain during their strike at the Mayo Hospital, resulting in the baby’s death.
Gawalmandi police had registered a murder case against the doctors.