Delhi HC directs AIIMS to constitute Medical Board to examine P Chidambaram’s health condition

Delhi HC directs AIIMS to constitute Medical Board to examine P Chidambaram’s health condition

Aditi Singh

The Delhi High Court has directed the Director of AIIMS to constitute a Medical Board today itself to give its opinion on whether P Chidambaram’s health condition requires his admission in a hospital, especially in a sterile environment.

The Medical Board shall include Chidambaram’s family doctor from Hyderabad, Dr Nageshwar Reddy. The Report of the Medical Board will be placed before the Court tomorrow at 2.30 pm.

The order was passed by a Single Judge Bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait while hearing Chidambaram’s plea seeking interim bail in the INX Media money laundering case.

Chidambaram sought interim bail to enable him to consult, get examined and treated by his regular doctor at the Asian Institute of Gastroenterology, Hyderabad, Dr Nageshwar Reddy for Crohn’s disease.

Appearing for Chidambaram, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal today informed the Court that Chidambaram’s medical condition was very serious and needed immediate attention.

Sibal stated that due to the Crohn’s disease, Chidambaram has inflammation of the intestines and diarrhea which required him to be admitted in a sterile environment to avoid the risk of further infections. He further asserted that Chidambaram had not been responding to the AIIMS treatment and his situation had become worse.

Sibal thus suggested that Chidambaram either be sent to Hyderabad for treatment or be allowed to be admitted to Apollo Hospital in Delhi where Dr Nageshwar Reddy can treat him.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta clarified that the Enforcement Directorate had no objection to the treatment of the disease at AIIMS. He, however, objected to the specific request to send him to Hyderabad.  He also added that as per yesterday’s report of the Medical Board at AIIMS, there was no need to hospitalize Chidambaram.

After hearing the parties, the Court opined that the correct view on the seriousness of Chidambaram’s health condition could be given only by doctors.

He thus directed that Director, AIIMS to constitute a Medical Board which would include Dr. Reddy for the purpose of ascertaining if Chidambaram’s health condition required his admission in a hospital, especially in a sterile environment.

As per the Court’s order, the Board shall sit today at 7 pm. Even if Dr. Nageshwar Reddy fails to join the Board, the Board will give its opinion in the form of a report by 10 pm. The report shall be placed before the Court tomorrow at 2.30 pm.

The hearing also witnessed an altercation between Sibal and Justice Kait with respect to Chidambaram’s admission in AIIMS, following which Sibal remarked that he would like to withdraw the plea due to the “Government’s attitude”.

The hearing came back on track after intervention by Senior Advocate N Hariharan.  Subsequently, Sibal accepted the Court’s suggestion that if needed, Chidambaram could be admitted in AIIMS instead of Appollo.

Explaining his reservations with AIIMS, Sibal remarked that due to the number of patients visiting the hospital, there was a high risk of Chidambaram coming in contact with infections.

P Chidambaram is currently in judicial custody in connection with the INX Media case. 

The INX Media case pertains to the alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance to INX Media at the time when P Chidambaram was the Finance Minister. It is the case of the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that P Chidambaram and his son Karti had received illegal gratification from INX Media owners Peter and Indrani Mukherjea for the clearance.

Chidambaram had previously sought the CBI Court’s permission on October 24 to allow him to visit Hyderabad for treatment of his stomach ailment.

This request was strongly opposed by the Enforcement Directorate. The CBI Court had, therefore, turned down the request and stated that in case of any medical need, P Chidambaram would be immediately taken to AIIMS.

The CBI had arrested P Chidambaram on August 21 after his anticipatory bail plea in the case was rejected by the High Court.

Chidambaram, who spent a fortnight in police custody after his arrest, was thereafter remanded to judicial custody. His plea for regular bail was rejected by the Special CBI Judge sitting at the Rouse Avenue Court Complex in Delhi. Later, bail was denied by the Delhi High Court as well.

Chidambaram was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on October 16 and subsequently sent to its custody.

Chidambaram’s bail plea in the INX Media money laundering case is pending before the High Court.

Chidambaram was represented by Senior Advocates Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Dayan Krishnan and N Hariharan. The interim bail plea was filed through Advocate Arshdeep Singh.

The matter will now be taken up tomorrow.

Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news