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Can Consultant Doctor Be Discriminated Against Employee Doctor In Insolvency Process Of Hospital? SC To Examine

Shruti Kakkar
23 Oct 2021 1:28 PM GMT
Can Consultant Doctor Be Discriminated Against Employee Doctor In Insolvency Process Of Hospital? SC To Examine
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The Supreme Court has issued notice on a petition which raises the issue of whether a consultant doctor can be discriminated against an employee doctor at the time of the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process of a hospital.The case arises out of the insolvency resolution proceedings of PVS Memorial Hospital Pvt Ltd situated at Kochi. The civil appeal was filed against an order of the...

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The Supreme Court has issued notice on a petition which raises the issue of whether a consultant doctor can be discriminated against an employee doctor at the time of the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process of a hospital.

The case arises out of the insolvency resolution proceedings of PVS Memorial Hospital Pvt Ltd situated at Kochi.

The civil appeal was filed against an order of the NCLAT Chennai's order, which rejected a consultant doctor's challenge against the  NCLT Kochi bench order, which dismissed his application which sought for rejecting the recommendations in the Resolution Plan (for corporate debtor - PVS Memorial Hospital Pvt Ltd.)

As per the Resolution Plan, "Other Operational Creditors" including the consultant doctors receive only 2.34% whereas employee doctors receive 99.29% of their dues.

The appeal stated that the Resolution Plan approved by the Committee of Creditors discriminated between two classes of Operational Creditors.

The appellants argued that this was violative of Section 30(2) Explanation 1 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, Article 14 of the Constitution of India and Top Court's judgment in Committee of Creditors of Essar Steel India Limited v. Satish Kumar Gupta and Ors.

Consultant doctors in this regard had further averred that the NCLAT had erred in not considering that the consultant doctors could not be punished for being seniors and not being in the rolls of the Corporate Debtor.

"Exclusion of the Consultant Doctors from the rolls of the Corporate Debtor Hospital was not their choice. Hospitals, as a normal practice, across the world hire the services of senior specialist doctors on consultancy basis and they perform critical health care services like surgeries and diagnosis with the help of junior doctors who may or may not be in the rolls of the Corporate Debtor. In spite of performing more important or significant functions of a doctor, there is a difference of about 96.95% between the consultant doctors and employee doctors. It is also not the case of anyone that consultant specialist doctors do not spend much time in the hospital as that of employee doctors. Even as the consultant doctors perform the same duties and spend almost equal amounts of time in the hospital, they have been grossly discriminated against per Approved Resolution Plan," appeal also stated.

To further substantiate their contention the appellants relied on the judgment in Binani Industries Ltd. v. Bank of Baroda wherein it was clearly held that inter-se discrimination of Operational Creditors will violate the provisions of the Code and that if the Operational Creditors are ignored and provided with 'liquidation value', then in such case no creditor will supply the goods or render services on credit to any Corporate Debtor.

Appellants in their appeals also contended that the Resolution Plan was prepared based on a completely erroneous and perverse valuation report submitted by a Registered Valuer viz. R.K Patel which rendered it violative of Regulation 35(1) of the IBBI (Insolvency Resolution Process for Corporate Persons) Regulations, 2016.

 Senior Advocate Nakul Dewan, Advocates Mukund P Unny, Sankar Panicker and Sriram P appeared for the appellant.

Case Title: Dr Vijay Radhakrishnan v. Bijoy P Pulipra, Resolution Professional, PVS Memorial Hospitals Pvt Ltd | Civil Appeal No(s) 5905/2021

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