SC sets aside Calcutta HC order suspending doc’s licence in contempt proceedings

New Delhi, July 29 : The Supreme Court has recently said  that the power to punish a medical practitioner for “misconduct” rests exclusively with the National Medical Commission. 

A bench comprising of Justices BR Gavai and Sanjay Karol was hearing a special leave petition filed by a doctor against Calcutta High Court’s orders suspending his license to practice medicine in contempt proceedings. 

The High Court order passed on July 14 last year, extended the period of suspension till August 19, 2022. It also issued a showcause notice on why the petitioner’s suspension should not be affected for two more years.

Contempt proceedings were initiated on the application of a private party in a case relating to demolition of an unauthorised structure which was constructed by the appellant in deviation with the Siliguri Municipal Corporation’s sanctioned plan. 

“A perusal of the provisions of this Act (National Medical Commission Act, 2019) as well as the now repealed, Medical Council Act, 1956 shows that the power to punish a registered medical practitioner for ‘misconduct’ rests exclusively with the body envisaged under this Act,” the top court said. 

Also, it said that in exercise of contempt jurisdiction, court can prescribe prescribe imprisonment of a term upto 6 months or  a maximum fine of Rs 2,000, as per the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971. 

The Supreme Court Court said that it has no hesitation in holding that  the punishment handed down to the contemnor is entirely foreign to the Contempt of Courts Act and, therefore, unsustainable. 

“The judgment (of the high court)… is set aside. The licence of the appellant, to practice medicine is revived,” it said while allowing the appeal. 

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