The Allahabad High Court has directed the Uttar Pradesh government to justify the suspension of doctor Kafeel Khan from a hospital in Gorakhpur for more than four years, Live Law reported on Monday.
Khan was a paediatrician at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College and Hospital, where 63 children died due to lack of oxygen in 2017. He was suspended from his post after the incident and jailed for nine months on charges of medical negligence, corruption and dereliction of duty.
In September 2019, the Uttar Pradesh government cleared Khan of all charges and also praised him for doing everything he could to help save lives. During the crisis, Khan said he had bought oxygen cylinders with his own money and made arrangements through his network to get more supplies.
But in October 2019, the state government began a new investigation against Khan for allegedly spreading incorrect information about the inquiry report related to the deaths and making “anti-government” remarks during his suspension.
Justice Yashwant Varma of the Allahabad High Court heard Khan’s petition challenging his suspension on July 29.
The doctor told the court that the inquiry officer in his case had submitted a report to the disciplinary authority on April 15, 2019. He added that the disciplinary authority accepted the report but disagreed with his acquittal in the case, and ordered a re-inquiry against him after 11 months.
Khan added that except him, all those who were suspended from their positions after the Gorakhpur deaths had been reinstated, The New Indian Express reported.
“The delay in taking further action on the part of the disciplinary authority is not explained,” the Allahabad High Court said after hearing Khan’s petition. “The respondents are also obliged to justify the continuance of the order of suspension which has continued for more than four years”.
The next hearing in the case will take place on August 5.
Khan had also been arrested in January last year for allegedly making inflammatory remarks during a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act at the Aligarh Muslim University. He was detained under the National Security Act. The doctor was released in September after the Allahabad High Court quashed his detention order.