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Suraj Mal Chhajer v/s State & Others

    Civil Writ Petition No. 2830 of 96

    Decided On, 27 August 1998

    At, High Court of Rajasthan

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE MOHAMMED YAMIN & THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE B.J. SHETHNA

    For the Appellant: Sunil Joshi, Advocate. For the Respondents: R.P. Dave, Advocate.



Judgment Text

B.J. Shethna, J.

1. Petitioner Shri Suraj Mal Chhajer is an unfortunate father of an young daughter deceased Dr. Veena Chhajer, a Resident Doctor, who died at the age of only 25 years, has filed this petition in his individual capacity as well as by way of Public Interest Litigation praying that the State Government be directed to appoint a High Power Committee consisting to independent persons not associated with affairs of Dr. S. N. Medical College, Jodhpur to inquire in to the circumstances leading to the death of his daughter Dr. Veena Chhajer, who died while performing her duties due to Hepatitis--"B" at Mathuradass Mathur Hospital and prayed for compensa

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tion of Rs. 50 Lacs. He has also prayed that the State Govt. and the Hospital Administra-tion be directed to provide adequate infra structure facilities to the Resident Doctors working in the hospitals of HRs Ag (sic) and HIV and other adequate protective measures like disposable gloves, syringes, needles etc. to the doctors and staff working at the Govt. Hospitals.

2. On 27-9-96 notice was ordered to be issued to the respondents by this Court. In pursuance of that notice, learned counsel Shri R. P. Dave appears for the respondents Nos. 1 & 2. He has filed reply affidavit and also produced the report of the Inquiry Committee constituted by the Principal, Dr. S. N. Medical College, Jodhpur, in to the death of Dr. Veena Chhajer.

3. Learned counsel for the respondents Shri Dave raised a preliminary objection about the maintainability of this writ petition on the ground of alternative remedy available to the petitioner before the civil Court by way of civil suit. He submitted that this is not a case where this Court can grant compensation as prayed for to the petitioner because this Court cannoi go into the dis-puted questions of facts regarding negligence of the respondents and other questions. However, learned counsel lor the petitioner Mr. Joshi relying upon the Apex Court's judgment in case of D.K. Basu Vs. State of West Bengal, submitted that this Court can certainly grant some reasonable amount by way of interim compensation to the petitioner for fighting litigation against the mighty respondents before the civil Court, which is the most incumbersome process. In D. K. Basu's case (supra) the Hon'ble Supreme Court has held that compensation can be granted under Public law by the Supreme Court and also by the High Courts in addition to private law remedy for the tortious action and punishment to wrongdoer and the ultimate award of compensation in Public law proceedings may be adjusted against the damages awarded in civil suit.

4. It depends on the facts of each case whether to grant compensation or some interim compensation or not ordinarily, this Court Would not entertain such petitions, but in a given case there is a report of the Inquiry Committee. And in para 3 of it, it is clearly stated that, "She might not have contracted the disease, had she been vaccinated earlier against Hepatitis-Band adopted other preventive measures such as using disposable syringes, needles, gloves, aprons etc. There may be a lapse in the availability of these above mentioned preventive measures". In view of the above, we are of the opinion that the petitioner is at least entitled for some reasonable amount by way of an interim compensation from this Court.

5. The next question is what should be the. reasonable amount? For that following facts are required to be taken in to consideration;

1. That Dr. Veena Chhajer was unmarried daughter of the petitioner, who died at the young age of only 25 years.

2. The petitioner has no son but only blessed with 4 daughters. Eldest one is already married. Dr. Venna Chhajer left her two younger sisters aged 23 and 21 years, respectively.

3. The petitioner is coming from a middle class family having limited means of income but educated his daughters so much that they reached the certain social level and do service to the society as well.

4. That this Court can take judicial notice of the fact that for imparting medical education, big amount has to be spent by the parents for the education of their children.

5. Deceased Dr. Veena Chhajer was fully dedicated doctor who responded to the call of duty first and died while discharging her duties in the hospital succumbing to Hepatitis--'B'.

6. Docotor Veena Chhajer was getting Rs. 5000/- per month as stipend, which is now raised to Rs. 10,000/-.

7. The portion of the report which has been reproduced earlier shows that she might not have contracted the decease, had she been vaccinated earlier against Hepatitis-B and other preventive measures such as using disposable gloves, syrings, needles, aprons etc. were adopted by the authorities.

6. Thus, in our considered opinion an interim compensation of Rs. 5 lacs would be reasonable and just which is not even seriously disputed by Mr. Dave learned counsel for the respondents. Accordingly, we direct the State Government to . pay Rs. 5 lacks to the petitioner within one month from today.

7. Considering the present situation prevailng in the Government Hospitals of the entire State, we will be failing in our duty if we do not direct the State Govt. to appoint a High Power Committee consisting of at least 5 independent eminent persons one of them should be from medical profession, who is not associated with the affairs of Dr. S. N. Medical College, Jodhpur to inquire in to the circumstances leading to the death of deceased Dr. Veena Chhajer who died while performing her duties at Mathuradass Mathur Hospital. Accordingly, we direct the State Govt. to appoint a High Power Committee of 5 independent eminent persons to inquire in to the circumstances leading to the death of Dr. Veena Chhajer, and suggest measures to Government so that such deaths may not occur in future and also suggest appropriate measures to the State Government so that in future suchcalamity is avoided. The State Government shall appoint such committee within one month from today and the said committee shall submit its detailed report with suggestions to the Government within 3 months thereof.

8. The State Govt. is also directed to provide basic adequate infrastructure facilities to all the Resident Doctors and other staff working in the hospitals of HRs and HIV and also provide adequate preventive measures like; disposable gloves, syringes, needles etc.

9. Before parting we make it clear that as and when petitioner files suit before the civil Court the amount of Rs. 5 lacs shall be adjusted against the final compensation amount.

With these directions this petition is disposed of.

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