Exactly four years after he was suspended, there seems to be some reprieve for Dr Kafeel Khan, paediatrician of BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur.
The Uttar Pradesh government has informed the Allahabad high court that the disciplinary authority’s order dated February 24, 2020, whereby further enquiry was directed against Khan has been withdrawn.
Khan was suspended from service on August 22, 2017, following the death of about 60 infants in the BRD Medical College hospital due to lack of oxygen.
During the court proceedings, additional advocate general (AAG) Manish Goyal, representing the state government, informed the court that the said order has been withdrawn subject to liberty being reserved for the respondents – the state authorities concerned – to proceed in the matter afresh and in light of what was noted by this court in its order of July 29, 2021.
The AAG further submitted that all endeavour shall be made to conclude the disciplinary proceedings within a period of three months.
Taking the statement of AAG on record, Justice Yashwant Varma said, “That only leaves the court to consider the justification for continuing the suspension of the petitioner, which was made pursuant to an order passed on August 22, 2017 by the state government.”
Having made the submission, the AAG requested the court to enable him to obtain requisite instructions in this respect. Hence, the court directed to list this petition on August 10 for the next hearing.
In the present writ petition, by which Khan has challenged his suspension and further enquiry, he has disclosed that initially the proceedings were drawn against nine persons.
“Seven out of those who were suspended along with the petitioner have since been reinstated pending the conclusion of disciplinary proceedings,” Khan added.
In the present writ petition, the petitioner Khan has challenged an order of suspension dated August 22, 2017.
Earlier, the enquiry officer had submitted his report on April 15, 2019. Thereafter, the disciplinary authority chose to pass the order for further enquiry on February 24, 2020, almost after 11 months, which is also under challenge.
The court observed, “The delay in taking further action on the part of the disciplinary authority is not explained. The respondents are also obliged to justify the continuance of the order of suspension which has continued for more than four years.”