HC asks TN, Jaya panel to respond on Apollo’s plea

HC asks TN, Jaya panel to respond on Apollo’s plea

Madras High Court on Monday asked the Tamil Nadu Government and Justice A Arumughaswamy Commission going into the “hospitalisation and subsequent” death of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa to file their counter-affidavits on a plea filed by Apollo Hospitals seeking stay on proceedings related to the late leader’s medical treatment. 

The corporate hospital had filed a petition seeking to quash government orders that brought medical treatment to Jayalalithaa under the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the one-man commission and also demanded an independent medical board probe issues pertaining to treatment if the court thought that the matters related to it came under the ToR.

A division bench of justices R Subbiah and Krishnan Ramasamy directed the Tamil Nadu Government and the Commission to file their counter affidavits by February 15. They said a decision on passing interim orders would be taken only after the government and the Commission file their counter affidavits.

In a statement, the hospital said it has not sought a complete stay of all proceedings pending before the Arumughaswamy Commission of Inquiry. “The stay sought by the hospital is limited to proceedings relating to medical treatment including appearance of doctors,” the statement said.

The Commission was constituted in August 2017 to dispel any doubts about Jayalalithaa’s hospitalisation and death – in the past 18 months, the panel has summoned more than 100 persons, including Health Minister C Vijayabhaskar, Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan, former bureaucrats, relatives of V K Sasikala and late Jayalalithaa’s personal security guards.

The Commission was mandated to give its report in three months, but it has got four extensions so far – the latest will expire on February 24. Apollo Hospitals, whose doctors appeared before the Commission, has been demanding constitution of a medical board contending that the panel has made mistakes in translating medical terms.

It also said 55 doctors from different departments have so far deposed before the Commission and found it very difficult to “explain the complexity of medical and scientific facts and protocols and procedures, adopted during the treatment.”

Jayalalithaa was wheeled into Apollo Hospitals on September 22, 2016 and died on December 5, 2016 after suffering a cardiac arrest the previous day.