Dr Payal Tadvi's suicide: Professors 'collecting signatures' to get Dr Ching Ling 'reinstated'

Updated: Aug 08, 2019, 07:21 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

More than 100 doctors write to the BMC chief saying Dr Ching Ling has been unfairly treated and that she should be given a fair hearing

Dr Payal Tadvi's suicide: Professors 'collecting signatures' to get Dr Ching Ling 'reinstated'
Nair hospital is in the eye of the storm ever since Dr Payal Tadvi's suicide on May 22

More than 100 doctors from the teaching and non-teaching faculty of Topiwala National Medical College and BYL Nair Hospital came out in support of Dr Ching Ling, former unit head at department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the hospital, where Dr Payal Tadvi committed suicide on May 22. They have raised concern about the manner in which she was suspended, without giving her a hearing.

They have even written a letter addressed to the Municipal Commissioner Pravin Pardeshi and are in the process of collecting signatures to express their solidarity with Dr Ling. The move is significant in light of Bombay High Court's observation and subsequent inquiry with the prosecution about their probe against Dr Ling under the Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act, 1999. Faculty members felt the issue was becoming too serious and that they needed to step in.

Speaking to mid-day, a professor and head of the department said, "It is unfair to hold a person responsible without giving them a fair chance to express their side. We are from the teaching faculty and our concern is that even we could land in a similar situation someday and even before hearing our side, stringent action would be taken against us. Who will support us then? Through this letter we have only expressed our concern and have requested the civic chief to revoke Dr Ling's suspension and reinstate her in service at the earliest."

Dr Rajan Nerurkar, professor of pharmacology, said, "We have decided unanimously to come out in support of Dr Ling post the Bombay HC observations." The professors told mid-day that Dr Ling had been on official leave since March 2019 post her facial paralysis attack and had been requested to resume duty on May 13 itself as other staff was on leave. "Dr Ling could have extended her leave on health grounds, yet she returned to work. And, this unfortunate incident happened on May 22. Also, numerous committees were formed and an inquiry conducted post the incident, but none of the reports were made public or findings discussed internally with the faculty," said another professor, who did not wished to be identified.

"We were made to understand that Dr Ling's suspension by the Deputy Municipal Commissioner Sunil Dhamne was temporary action, but the fact remains that no due procedure was followed by BMC before suspending her," the professor added. When contacted, Dr Ramesh Bharmal, dean of TNMC Medical College, said, "I am hearing this [the faculty's letter to the civic chief] from you, and such a decision cannot be taken at the professor's or at dean's level. None of the professors approached me so far about writing a letter to the Municipal Commissioner on Dr Ching Ling's suspension."

On his failure to take action on Tadvi's complaint, Dr Bharmal said, "I had never been approached either by Tadvi's parents nor our professor or associate professor about Tadvi's concerns. Had it been brought to my notice, I would have surely taken appropriate action." When a professor was asked about not keeping the dean in the loop about the letter to the civic chief, the professor said, "We are fully aware that the dean has no power to rectify the suspension, and therefore we are approaching the civic chief through official channels."

Dhamne said, "I have not received any recommendation from the police, and if at all the police or court make some observation to the civic chief, the same will be submitted to the law and judiciary department and appropriate suggestions will be adhered to." Dhamne said, "In the next few days, a round-the-clock helpline number will be made operational, where students and faculty members can directly complain about any sort of harassment on campus. This step is other than the mandatory psychological session that will happen soon in all civic-run medical colleges for students and faculty. I will also be attending sessions as per the scheduled timetable to avert such incidents in future." Dhamne said he did not know anything about the Nair faculty's letter to the civic chief.

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