In a bizarre development, a doctor of the Maulana Azad Medical College has been accused of illegally removing the skull from the body on which he performed an autopsy, prompting the institution to bar him from conducting post mortem examinations.

The doctor, a post-graduate scholar and junior resident, has approached the Delhi High Court, claiming the allegation was "devoid of merit and bereft of a single evidence" to substantiate the heinous claims even remotely.

The July 29 order issued by the Head of the Department (HOD) of Forensic Medicine of Maulana Azad Medical College, stated the doctor was "hereby barred from doing post mortem work with immediate effect after the complaint of indulging in unethical practice of skull removal from the unknown body".

The order said the doctor will be debarred from such duty till he deposits the "unethically removed skull" with the department, otherwise it will be presumed he did it for "ulterior motives".

Justice Yashwant Varma, whom the doctor's counsel, Advocate Abhijit Mishra appealed to set aside the order, said the hospital's directive did not amount to punishment as it only debarred the petitioner from undertaking post mortem work till the time the incident was enquired into.

Advocate Arun Panwar, appearing for Maulana Azad Medical College, submitted that taking into account the seriousness of the incident, the college has already initiated an enquiry during which the petitioner shall be afforded due opportunity of hearing and that subject to the result of the probe further action shall be taken.

In view of the aforesaid and bearing in mind the fact that the enquiry is ongoing, the court disposes of the writ petition by observing that the respondent college shall ensure that principles of natural justice are duly adhered to and the material which is proposed to be relied upon in that enquiry is provided to the petitioner.

"The respondents shall ensure that the petitioner gets an adequate opportunity to defend himself in the said proceedings. All contentions of respective parties, on merits, are kept open," the Court ordered.

The petition says the post mortem was conducted on April 5, 2022 and the authorities later claimed the skull was removed from the body by the petitioner.

The petitioner's lawyer submitted five post mortem examinations were conducted at the institution that day in which the petitioner participated. Apart from him, other members of staff and employees were present and therefore the assumption that it was the petitioner who was responsible for removing the skull was "wholly illegal and violative of principles of natural justice".

The petition claimed the doctor neither received a copy of the complaint of his alleged involvement in the incident nor provided with an opportunity to explain the "misunderstanding".

The plea said the office order was prima facie "a work of fiction" based upon unsubstantiated, spurious complaints against the petitioner who filed his representation cum objection against the order to the authorities but they did not take cognisance.

The petitioner sought a direction to the college to quash the office order and direct the Delhi University to constitute a committee to probe the incident.

Cause Title: Dr. Vaisakh Sanal v. Maulana Azad Medical College & Ors.

Click here to read/download Order

With PTI inputs