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NRI Threatens to Move US Congress for Justice in India

An Indian American doctor has threatened to mobilise US congressmen and senators against Indian authorities denying him information// under the Right to Information (RTI) Act in a case relating to his crusade against the corrupt healthcare system here.

Kunal Saha, whose wife died of alleged wrongful treatment in India in May 1988, said: "I am going to appeal to my senators and congressmen in US and will ask them to raise this issue with the Indian government on how they (judiciary and a medical board) can discriminate against a person only because he or she is a US citizen."

The Ohio based AIDS vaccine researcher, who has been fighting against malpractices in healthcare in India, wanted some information connected with West Bengal Medical Council's (WBMC) investigation into a complaint filed by him.

A single-member judge of Dipankar Datta last month rejected Saha's writ petition against WBMC president Ashok Chowdhury and secretary D.K. Ghosh on the grounds that he was an NRI and a US citizen and so not entitled to get any "information" under the RTI act in India.

According to Saha, the ruling was blatantly wrong on several grounds and the judgement simply discriminatory.

"The judge assumed that I'm a US citizen on the basis of a claim made by the WBMC authority. Although I'm a naturalised US citizen, the fact is that I've already applied for a dual citizenship (for the US and India), which the Indian government has allowed recently," Saha told IANS.

He said he would soon bring the matter before the NRI community in USA and other countries as the judgement was vindictive.

"Should the US government treat citizens of other countries differently and deny them their fundamental rights only because they are foreign nationals?" asked Saha who has filed the highest medical compensation case in the country against Kolkata's AMRI Hospital and three doctors for causing his wife Anuradha's death due to alleged wrongful treatment.

The Supreme Court on March 31 had admitted a Rs.1.43 billion compensation claim by Saha after Delhi-based National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) dismissed the case in June 2006.

Saha Wednesday filed a fresh appeal before a division bench of the Calcutta High Court against the WBMC, which allegedly kept him in the dark about information he had sought under the RTI.


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