Delhi High Court rejects bail plea of applicant accused of impersonating a qualified doctor and operating on a pregnant woman who later died
Justice Navin Chawla [28-03-2024]




LE Correspondent


New Delhi, April 1, 2024: The Delhi High Court has refused to grant bail to a woman for posing as a duly qualified doctor having an MBBS degree and operating on a pregnant woman thereby leading to her death.


The factual matrix of the case as presented by the prosecution was that on 24.03.2022, the deceased was admitted to applicant’s Medicare Hospital located in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar as she was complaining of labour pain. On the same day, she gave birth to a male child through normal delivery. Post the delivery, the deceased showed signs of mild Post-Partum Haemorrhaging (PPH), due to which she was losing blood and was in distress. The Complainant further stated that, the father of the complainant took discharge of the deceased and shifted her to the Holy Family Hospital, where she unfortunately passed away.


Subsequently, her father filed a complaint, then, on a direction passed by the Metropolitan Magistrate, an FIR came to be filed. Initially, the FIR was registered for offence under Sections 419/420 of the IPC, but during the course of investigation, the charges under Sections 468/471 of the IPC had also been attracted. It was further the case of the prosecution that during initial inquiry, it was revealed that the applicant, holding a degree in Bachelor of Unani Medicine and Surgery (BUMS) from the Faculty of Medicine (Unani), Jamia Hamdard Delhi, had used a forged stamp by the name of Dr. F. Tabassum, MBBS, DGO (Obs & Gynae).


It was alleged that during the course of inquiry, it has been revealed that no such doctor was registered with the said registration number with the National Medical Council. The prosecution alleged that the said Dr. F. Tabassum, when contacted, stated that she had never treated the deceased and the alleged stamp did not belong to her. It was alleged that the applicant prepared/forged a fake stamp to impersonate herself as an MBBS doctor. She also prescribed modern medicines, which could be prescribed only by an MBBS qualified doctor. The prosecution alleged that registration of the Clinic, i.e. Medicare Hospital, had also expired on 31.03.2019, and the same was pending renewal.


The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Navin Chawla was considering an application filed by the applicant under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 praying for being released on anticipatory bail.


The Bench remarked that it was evident that it was the case of the prosecution that the applicant impersonated herself as Dr. F. Tabassum, a qualified MBBS. The applicant was also alleged to have forged a rubber stamp showing a false registration number of Dr. F. Tabassum. Though the applicant denied the above allegations, the APP showed the letterhead/prescription that appeared to be that of a clinic/hospital run by the applicant, and which had the alleged false stamp.


“This is not a case where the Complainant merely questions the nature of treatment given to the patient or alleges medical negligence. The prosecution herein alleges impersonation and forgery in order to deceive patients to believe that they are being treated by a duly qualified doctor having an MBBS degree”, the Bench said.


The Bench relied upon the judgments in Gurbaksh Singh Sibbia v. State of Punjab [LQ/SC/1980/169]; Srikant Upadhaya & Ors. v. State of Bihar & Anr., [LQ/SC/2024/264 ;] which emphasize that while considering a question of the balance between personal liberty and the investigational powers of the police, the nature and seriousness of proposed charges, the events leading up to the making of such charges, apprehension that the applicant might be absent from the trial, tampering of witness(s) and the larger interest of the public and State, are some factors that must be borne in mind at the stage of granting or denying anticipatory bail.


“Applying the above principles, it cannot be denied that further interrogation would be required to test the veracity of the allegations made against the applicant and to unearth all material evidences. Though the applicant states that she has joined in the investigation on a number of occasions, the effectiveness of custodial interrogation is materially different. She may have to be confronted with the material that the prosecution possesses in order to unearth the truth”, the Bench held.


Thus, given the nature of allegations and the peculiar facts and circumstances of the present case, the Bench dismissed the petition.

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