Allahabad High Court Grants Bail to Dr. Kafeel Khan in Gorakhpur Tragedy Case

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Dr. Kafeel Khan head of pediatric department at government hospital Gorakhpur was granted bail by Allahabad High Court on Wednesday. Dr. Kafeel was arrested in September last year over charges of corruption and in connection with the death of over 63 children at BRD hospital. He was languishing in jail for past seven months.

Facts of the Case

On 10th August 2017, 63 children in government-run BRD hospital, Gorakhpur died due to lack of oxygen. On being informed about the death of children, Dr. Kafeel Khan who was on sanctioned leave sprang into action, used his resources, ran from pillar to post and managed to arrange 250 oxygen cylinders in a very short span of time. It is reported that he paid for these cylinders out of his own pocket. On 2nd September 2017, he and few of his colleagues were arrested by the police. Dr. Kafeel Khan was charged with attempt to commit culpable homicide, criminal breach of trust and criminal conspiracy. The additional charge of corruption and private practice were also slapped but dropped during the investigation. Dr. Shabista Khan wife of Dr. Kafeel Khan revealed a letter to media written by her husband from prison in which he pleads his innocence and says that he was made a scapegoat for the failure of Gorakhpur administration. Khan alleged that DM of Gorakhpur, DGME(director general of medical education), principal secretary health education did not take any steps against the 14 reminders sent by Pushpa Sales for clearing its dues of 68 lakh rupees for supplying oxygen cylinders. He further said that Yogiji became angry because the incident got huge media coverage and he blamed Dr. Kafeel Khan for the same.

The Decision of the Case

Single judge bench of Justice Yashwant Varma granted him bail and agreed with the argument of advocate Nazrul Islam Jafri representing Dr. Kafeel Khan who contended that there was not enough evidence with the state government to link the charges with the doctor. Moreover, counsel for Dr. Khan also said that the court believed, that “if he is involved in private practice you can suspend him but cannot keep him in jail.

Indian Medical Association came out in support of Dr. Kafeel Khan demanding his release and calling him a victim of a conspiracy. Indian Medical Association Secretary, Dr. R.P Shukla said the situation of lack of oxygen cylinders arose due to administrative slack, unaccountability, and corruption. For this, the officials from Gorakhpur and Lucknow are to be blamed and not doctors.  Dr. Kafeel Khan’s wife welcomed this decision and said her faith in the judiciary has been reaffirmed.

Learning of the case

From this case, we learn that one person cannot be held in jail for the fault of another. Bail if available should be granted as early as possible.

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