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Payal Tadvi Suicide: In A first, Bombay HC Directs Video Recording Of Proceedings Under SC/ST Act

Nitish Kashyap
26 July 2019 9:54 AM GMT
Payal Tadvi Suicide: In A first, Bombay HC Directs Video Recording Of Proceedings Under SC/ST Act
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For the first time in the Bombay High Court, proceedings will be recorded on video as the Court has ordered its registry to make the necessary arrangements for recording of the hearing in the appeal filed by three doctors accused of abetting the suicide of Dr.Payal Tadvi, a second-year MD student of Gynecology.

Justice Dama Seshadri Naidu noted that as per an amendment to the Scheduled Caste and Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, in 2017, all proceedings of offences recorded under the said act will have to be video recorded.

Justice Naidu decided that it was imperative that the proceedings are recorded as per the law even though it may cause a delay. He further told Advocates appearing on the case how all the arguments canvassed before him are also recorded in his I-pad.

The accused doctors moved High Court in appeal after the City Civil and Sessions Court rejected their bail.

Ankita Khandelwal, Hema Ahuja and Bhakti Mehare were all a year senior to the 26-year-old Payal Tadvi who wrote the following in her suicide note, which is a part of the 1200-page charge sheet filed in the case.

"I found out no one is there to stand for us, support us in this department…. I have lost my professional life personal life everything because it has been declared by them that they will not let me learn anything.

I hold Hema Ahuja, Bhakti Mehare and Ankita Khandelwal responsible for me and my friend Snehal's condition. I have tried a lot to come forward many times, spoke with madam about this but nothing has been done. I literally do not see any way, I can only see THE END."

The accused doctors have been booked under Sections 306 (abetment of suicide) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code and under the Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act and Section 3 of Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Advocate Abad Ponda appears on behalf of the accused doctors, Special Public Prosecutor Raja Thakare is for the State and Advocate Gunratan Sadavarte appears on behalf of Payal Tadvi's family.

Although the State of Maharashtra does not have the proper infrastructure in its Courts to facilitate such recording of proceedings under the said act, SPP Thakare submitted a letter from the Director-General of Police highlighting steps being taken to establish such infrastructure.

Ponda opposed the video recording and argued that under Section 15 such recording is limited to offences under Chapter 2 of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. Court noted- "Even if we confine ourselves to Chapter 2, present bail proceedings emanate from the offence."

Thus, Court directed the registry to make requisite arrangements and adjourned the matter until July 30. 

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