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Supreme Court issues notice to Ketan Desai, Gujarat University

People for Better Treatment moved the SC in February after its PIL challenging election of the former president of Medical Council of India to the GU senate was rejected by the Gujarat high court last December.

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In a major development, the Supreme Court issued a notice against Ketan Desai and Gujarat University (GU) on Monday in response to a complaint filed by US-based group People for Better Treatment (PBT). PBT moved the SC in February after its PIL challenging election of former president of Medical Council of India (MCI) Ketan Desai to the GU senate was rejected by the Gujarat high court last December.

The SC division bench of Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly admitted PBT's appeal on Monday challenging the high court's dismissal of the PIL and issued notices to Dr Ketan Desai and GU asking why Dr Desai's election "unopposed" to the GU senate should not be cancelled. 

The court notice mentions that while still president of the MCI, Dr Desai was arrested on April 23, 2010 by the CBI for taking bribes from a private medical college and thought he is at present free on bail he is still facing a criminal trial. The notice also asks for an explanation that as the MCI cancelled Dr Desai's medical registration on October 9, 2010, how he could be elected to the GU Senate to a post which is reserved for registered medical doctors. 

Ironically, the Gujarat HC had dismissed PBT's PIL on the ground that since the PBT president is a non-resident Indian (NRI), he may not have any "public interest" for people living in India. It had   even imposed a penalty of Rs10,000 against PBT for bringing a seemingly frivolous PIL against Dr Desai. "The SC notice sends a strong signal to all corrupt medicos and supporters of Dr Desai," said Dr Kunal Saha, president of PBT.

PBT's advocate in New Delhi T V George explained that according to the SC notice both the parties, Desai and GU, would have to justify their actions. "After that, SC would probe the matter of appointment of Desai in GU senate further," said George.   

Dr Saha said Desai is facing criminal trial for corruption and disproportionate assets. "At present, he is out on bail and is trying to be back at the helm of Indian healthcare. Both PBT and MCI had warned GU against taking Desai into the senate, but GU authorities went ahead with the appointment,” he said.

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