The Allahabad High Court has put a stay on the Uttar Pradesh government’s order to suspend doctor Kafeel Khan for the second time, Bar and Bench reported on Tuesday.
Khan, a paediatrician at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College and Hospital in Gorakhpur, was first suspended in 2017 after 63 children died at the facility reportedly due to lack of oxygen.
He was also 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 praised him for doing everything he could to help save lives.
But the same year, the government suspended Khan again for allegedly treating patients forcibly at a hospital in Bahraich district, according to PTI.
The Uttar Pradesh government alleged that Khan had entered the hospital’s paediatric department with some outsiders in 2018 and created panic, according to The Hindu.
The doctor challenged the order before the High Court, arguing that since he was already under suspension for the 2017 incident, there was no point in passing another similar order, according to Bar and Bench.
Khan also told the court that two years had passed since the government issued the second order for his suspension but the inquiry against him had not still been completed.
During a hearing on September 9, the High Court directed the authorities to complete the inquiry within a month.
The court added: “It is further provided that the petitioner shall cooperate in enquiry and in case the petitioner does not cooperate in the enquiry, the disciplinary authority may proceed to conclude the enquiry exparte.”
In August, the Allahabad High Court had asked the Uttar Pradesh government to justify Khan’s suspension from the hospital in Gorakhpur for more than four years. The doctor had told the court that except him, all those who were suspended from their positions after the deaths of children had been reinstated.
Khan had also been arrested in January 2020 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 last year after the Allahabad High Court quashed his detention order.
On August 26, 2021, the High Court quashed all criminal proceedings against him in connection with the speech.