A court in Mumbai on Monday extended till June 21 the judicial custody of three doctors arrested in connection with the suicide of medical student Payal Tadvi, Bar and Bench reported. The doctors are accused of making casteist remarks about Tadvi. They broke down in the court, saying they cannot stay in jail anymore, after the special court said it would hear arguments on June 21.
Hema Ahuja, Bhakti Meher and Ankita Khandelwal of BYL Nair Hospital were arrested on May 29 on charges of abetment of suicide. They told the court that injustice had been meted out to them, and urged the judge to advance the hearing on their bail pleas.
Tadvi, who belonged to the Bhil Adivasi community, committed suicide on May 22 after allegedly facing casteist abuse from the accused at the Topiwala National Medical College in Mumbai, where she worked.
After Tadvi’s death, the three doctors denied the accusations in a letter to the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors, and demanded a “fair inquiry”. The association, however, suspended them on the basis of findings of a preliminary investigation. The state health department’s anti-ragging committee has found prima facie evidence that Tadvi faced casteist abuse.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes urged the Mumbai Police to expedite the investigation in the case. A team led by the panel’s Chairperson Nand Kumar Sai also met the management of BYL Nair Hospital.
“The NCST has demanded that the probe by the Crime Branch into the case be completed as soon as possible,” Sai told PTI. “Even the post-mortem report has not been released yet...It’s not clear yet whether it’s suicide or murder. The matter is under investigation. Let the postmortem report come out.”
The accused doctors have been booked under relevant sections of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Anti-Ragging Act, Information Technology Act and the Indian Penal Code.
Corrections and clarifications: An earlier version of the article erroneously said the court has extended the judicial custody of the accused to June 24.