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Top court sets aside conviction of oncologist in 24-yr-old case

The Supreme Court has set aside a Bombay high court judgement upholding the conviction of Mumbai-based oncologist PB Desai for not taking due care of a terminally-ill wife of an IAS officer nearly 24 years ago.

Desai was held guilty and sentenced to suffer simple imprisonment for a day till rising of the court and to pay Rs 50,000 compensation to the husband of the deceased or undergo three months jail term by a Mumbai trial judge in 2011 under section 338 of the IPC. The verdict was upheld by the Bombay HC and it led to an appeal in the SC.

The SC said though Desai’s act of not performing the surgery himself and remaining absent from the operation theatre was an ‘act of negligence’, the omission was not of a kind which had given rise to ‘criminal liability’, a bench of justices AK Patnaik and AK Sikri said.
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