The Bombay High Court on Tuesday asked the prosecution why the statements of a key witness in the Payal Tadvi suicide case had not been registered yet before a magistrate, ANI reported.

The police informed the court that they had prepared a letter recommending an inquiry against the Yi Ching Ling, the head of the gynaecology and obstetrics department at BYL Nair Hospital, where Tadvi used to work, PTI reported. But senior counsel Raja Thakre told the judges that the crime branch was yet to send the letter to the municipal commissioner to seek permission for initiating proceedings against Yi under the Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act, 1999.

Justice SS Jadhav was hearing bail applications of three doctors – Hema Ahuja, Bhakti Meher, and Ankita Khandewal – who were arrested in May for casteist abuses that allegedly made Tadvi kill herself. Jadhav directed the crime branch to write to the municipal commissioner immediately to initiate action against Yi.

The court said no action had been taken against Yi despite the fact that Tadvi’s mother had approached her several times with complaints and accused her of shirking responsibility.

“Does the investigating agency have no power to prosecute her?” Jadhav asked. “Despite the fact that several colleagues of Dr Tadvi who were made witnesses in the case were in a vulnerable position now as they continued to be at the hospital, the crime branch had failed to record their statements before a magistrate under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code.”

The court modified its statement by evening and said it had merely sought the prosecution’s opinion on whether Yi was responsible for the suicide. The judge also rejected defence lawyer Abad Ponda’s argument that the accused doctors deserved to be granted bail since it was not a case of murder or culpable homicide.

“The deceased and her family raised several complaints before the suicide, the mental injury was seen and it could have been curtailed, yet, no one took serious note of it,” Jadhav said. “You can’t say thus, that this is not a case of murder or homicide for mental injury was inflicted upon her.”

She also suggested that the medical licences of the accused doctors be terminated, at least till the conclusion of the trial. The hearing will continue on August 9.

Tadvi committed suicide on May 22. Her mother claimed that she had complained to Yi about the alleged mental harassment. After their arrest, the three doctors denied the accusations in a letter to Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors and demanded a “fair inquiry”. They were arrested on May 29, and in June a special court dismissed their bail plea.