At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC
By, THE HONOURABLE DR. B.C. GUPTA
By, PRESIDING MEMBER
For the Appellant: Mayank Wadhwa, Advocate. For the Respondent: Sanjeev Puri, Sr. Advocate, Kamal Kumar, Advocate.
First appeal No. 409/2017, filed by the appellant/complainant Urmil Chopra against the Opposite Parties (OPs) Fortis Healthcare (India) Ltd. and others was decided vide orders dated 11.10.2017 passed by this Commission. In accordance with this order, the complainant was given an opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses produced by the OPs. The order passed by the State Commission in MA No. 783/2016 in consumer complaint 65/2013, filed by the complainant was set aside and the State Commission was directed to allow the cross-examination of the witnesses as stated above and proceed further as per appropriate procedure.
2. MA No. 466/2017 has been filed by the OP Fortis Healthcare (India) Ltd., seeking modification/clarification of the above order dated 11.10.2017, pleading that the cross-examination should be made by way of interrogatories and not by oral examination. The OPs have taken the plea that in accordance with the order passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case, 'J.J. Merchant (Dr.) vs. Shrinath Chaturvedi [(2002) 6 SCC 635],' the cross-examination of the witnesses should be made through interrogatories.
3. The learned counsel for both the parties were heard on 15.12.2017. The learned counsel for the respondents/OPs suggested that in terms of the order passed by the Hon’ble Apex Court in 'J.J. Merchant (Dr.) vs. Shrinath Chaturvedi' (supra), the cross-examination of the witnesses should be made by suggestive questions. However, if need was felt for oral cross-examination thereafter, the same could also be done. The plea was opposed by the learned counsel for the appellant, who stated that the direction contained in the case 'J.J. Merchant (Dr.) vs. Shrinath Chaturvedi' (supra) were not mandatory. The ends of justice shall be served, if the oral cross-examination of the witnesses produced by the OPs was made.
4. I have given careful consideration to the arguments advanced by the learned counsel.
5. From the facts and circumstances of this case of alleged medical negligence, it is made out that several technical issues are involved, which could be clarified better, if oral cross-examination of the witnesses produced by the opposite parties is made. In case, the cross-examination is first made through interrogatories and then orally, it shall delay the disposal of the consumer complaint. Moreover, we tend to agree with the contention made by the learned c
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ounsel for appellant that the directions given in the case, 'J.J. Merchant (Dr.) vs. Shrinath Chaturvedi' (supra) are not mandatory in nature. M.A. No. 466/2017 is, therefore, dismissed and it is directed that the cross-examination of the witness shall be made orally.