The Bombay High Court on Thursday ordered its registry department to make arrangements to video record the bail application hearings of the three doctors accused of abetting the suicide of Payal Tadvi, PTI reported. The court was hearing the pleas of three doctors, Hema Ahuja, Bhakti Meher, and Ankita Khandewal, who were arrested in May.
Justice DS Naidu said that Section 15(a) of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act mandated that all hearings under it would have to be recorded by the court. Advocate Gunaratan Sadavarte, representing Tadvi’s mother, pointed out the provision to the court.
“I cannot ignore the statutory provisions,” Naidu said. “While I am sympathetic towards the fact that this would mean a delay in hearing of the bail pleas, but it is also imperative that the provisions of the Act are followed.” The court directed its registry department to facilitate the recording and listed the matter for further hearing on July 30.
The lawyer representing the three doctors, Aabad Ponda, told the court that the accused were educated people, who were not criminals. “We know that something unfortunate has happened and a woman has lost her life,” PTI quoted the lawyer as saying. “But life has to go on. We will face the trial.” Ponda added that the accused had been suspended from the hospital and that they wanted to complete their education and stay out of Mumbai.
Mumbai Police’s Crime Branch on Tuesday filed a 1,203-page chargesheet before a trial court against the accused. Police has claimed that the Tadvi had blamed the accused in her suicide note for harrassing her and said that they will be responsible for her death.
The police have attached statements from nearly 180 witnesses in addition to the suicide note recovered from Tadvi’s mobile phone. The witnesses include those who were present when the doctors allegedly shouted at Tadvi, and later she committed suicide the same day. The police have also compiled the statements of colleagues, other staff members and seniors of the hospital. Raja Thakare, who is representing the investigating agency, had earlier in the month opposed against the bail plea of the doctors.