THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: P K Sundara Raj, who was a leading orthopaedic surgeon at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital, could have become the principal of the college, with bright prospects in the private sector post retirement. But the doctor had to go all the way up to the Supreme Court during an 18-year-long legal battle to restore his service and pension rights as he found himself on the wrong side of then ruling party in the late 1990s.
Not only did Sundara Raj manage to get himself exonerated from the medical negligence charges slapped on him, but he could also get his full service benefits restored. In a major blow to the last-ditch attempt by the state government, to delay the rulings of the High Court and Administrative Tribunal granting relief to Raj, the special leave petition was dismissed by the Supreme Court on the first day of admission, recently.
“The court offered relief not just for me but also for several medical teachers who were wronged by vested interests in the government,” said Raj.
According to him, his career nose-dived when the then ruling party bosses were irked by the medical care he provided to victims of political violence. “They came to the conclusion that I attended to grievously injured patients owing to my reported allegiance to a particular party. I was only discharging my duty in just the same way I took care of the victims of Perumon tragedy,” said Raj, who was then a deputy medical superintendent.
In the space of three years, he found himself in the middle of two medical negligence cases. Though he could prove his innocence finally in June 2002, he had barely one month of service left to become the head of the department. Still service benefits were denied to him though he was eligible for the post of professor since 1996. “I suffered a lot since I didn’t realise that I was a victim of political vendetta. There were even attempts to frame me in Vigilance cases to undermine my career,” said Raj.