Saturday, January 28, 2017

Gujarat high court quashes charge of aiding fugitive against doctor

 Gujarat high court has come to the rescue of a government doctor, who was charge-sheeted for harbouring a criminal as he had advised him strict bed rest due to his medical condition.

Justice J B Pardiwala quashed criminal proceedings pending in a Jamnagar court against Dr Nehal Shah, who was posted with Guru Gobindsingh Government Hospital in 2010.

According to case details, former MP Vikram Madam's nephew Vishal Madam was arrested in connection with a murder case in 2010. After his arrest, when he was in judicial custody, Madam was brought to the hospital after he complained of having pain in his knees. An MRI was conducted on him. The doctor prescribed treatment and advised him to strict bed rest for six weeks.

Dr Shah's treatment and decision to keep Madam in hospital did not go down well with police, who booked the doctor for harbouring charges under Section 212 of the IPC and a criminal trial began against him.

The doctor rushed to the high court urging for quashing of the charges, but the state government opposed and maintained that Madam's illness was fabricated. The government said the doctor was Madam's close friend, and had tried to help Madam in a way by keeping him in hospital. Madam was absolutely fine and he had no problem in his knee joint. The medical case papers the doctor had prepared were incorrect, the government had said.

After hearing the arguments, the high court quashed to proceedings against the doctor on the ground that the charges of harbouring can be invoked when an offender is given shelter and shield from law and punishment. But in this case, Madam was already arrested and in custody. There can be no harbouring of an accused person when under arrest.

The high court, however, permitted the state government to invoke the charges if any evidence with regard to the MRI report appeared during the course of trial. The government can request the trial court to arraign the doctor in criminal proceedings as an accused, if any evidence against him is found during the trial, said the high court

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