The Allahabad High Court has issued notice in the plea filed by Dr Kafeel Khan against the termination of his employment at the BRD medical College by the Uttar Pradesh government from. A bench of Justice Rajan Roy has sought a response from the government in four weeks.
In November 2021, Dr Kafeel Khan was dismissed from service in the 2017 BRD Hospital tragedy where 63 children had died due to an alleged shortage of oxygen at the hospital. In response to his suspension, he released a video and said, “On August 6, 2021, the government had submitted to the court that the second inquiry against me has been quashed. The high court had stayed the suspension order in the Bahraich case. Even after all this, I have got the news that I have been dismissed.” He clarified that the children died because the government had failed to pay the dues of the oxygen supplier of over Rs. 68 lakhs.
While addressing the media in November, he had said, “The (UP) government has claimed there are four allegations against me. They have upheld three of those and exonerated me in the case of medical negligence…. Even the court has observed that I tried my best to save lives.”
In response to the allegation that he was undertaking private practice he had said, “I joined the medical college on August 8, 2016. Before that, if I had any private or public practice, it was not anyone’s business. Yet, they say the allegation stands.”
Another allegation is that Dr Khan was not registered with the UP medical Council to which he cited the document by the UP Medical Education Department, which states that any person whose name is with the Indian Medical Council “can practice anywhere”.
The next allegation is of medical negligence in the death of the children to which he responded that the “report by Alok Kumar, Principal Secretary, Medical Education, said I had no role in supply and tender of oxygen. They acknowledged that I made available 500 jumbo cylinders. I am absolved of corruption, as they claim that my submissions were valid.”
In August 2017, Dr. Khan was removed from the pediatric department at BRD Medical College, after being held responsible for the deaths of the children, and was soon suspended in the same month. In September 2017, he was arrested and he was granted bail by Allahabad High Court on April 25, 2018.
In April 2019, he was absolved of medical negligence and corruption charges by departmental inquiry. The probe conducted by principal secretary Himanshu Kumar had in 2019 absolved Khan in two of the four accusations made against him, including the allegation that he was the nodal person for the 100-bed ward where infants were admitted and that he had not informed senior officers about oxygen shortage.
He was suspended again in July 2019 and was later arrested in December 2019 for allegedly making inflammatory speech while speaking up against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). He was granted bail by the Allahabad High Court on February 10, 2020 and he was to be released on February 13, 2020. Just then, charges under the National Security Act (NSA) were slapped against him. He was released from detention around midnight on September 2, 2020, after seven months of detention as the Allahabad High Court set aside his detention order.
In August 2021, UP government informed the Allahabad High Court that they withdrew the re-enquiry order and the court stayed the suspension order against Dr. Khan in September. In November 2021, the UP government terminated Dr Khan’s employment, and now he has challenged the same before Allahabad High Court.