Susan Walker Barkha Dutt - Sushant

Susan Walker, Barkha Dutt – Act to derail SSR justice?

Congress stooge of yore and now jobless Barkha Dutt has come out with what seems to be a brick-by-brick construction of Rhea Chakrabporty’s defence by his team. Barkha on her Youtube channel presented what seems to be a tutored audio of therapist Susan Walker Moffat who claimed to have seen Sushant and Rhea for sessions of treatment in November 2019 (and in June 2020). In the audio Susan claimed:

  1. SSR was suffering from ‘bipolar disorder’; and
  2. Rhea was taking care of him like a mother.

Advised (read ill-advised) Susan claims to chosen to break her silence after witnessing a deluge of misinformation on social media.

Ms Walker has breached confidentiality provisions of Clinical Establishments Act by making the statement. As a practitioner, Ms Walker is bound by confidentiality provisions to not disclose the info unless ordered by:

  1. a court of authority;or
  2. she has Sushant’s permission; or
  3. to serve and protect the society by revealing the information.

Ms Walker’s mention of the social angle, misinformation and stigma attached to mental health was to meet the requirements of exception 3 above.

I believe Ms Walker fails on two counts. Firstly Sushant is no more and the secondly – if he was alive, the alleged illness being mental health is not a disease like  AIDS or COVID-19 he could pass on by hiding from society. Thus the society in general gets no service or added protection off this revelation.

I will let Rhea’s lawyer Satish Maneshinde to do more creative work around it for Ms Walker to later testify for Rhea.

There are other provisions in India law which may become live for the family of SSR, should their lawyers be so minded to go after Ms Walker and/or Barkha Dutt.

In the meantime – MS Walker’s certificate of practice – could be in peril, if authorities want to look at things seriously.

Also, Ms Walker in fact may have done some damage to Rhea as well in the process when she praised Rhea as a ‘mother figure’ or personal responsible for SSR’s care. That puts the onus of care and responsibility of administering medicines and keeping and preserving medical records on Rhea under the provisions of law.

To Barkha Dutt        
Why would Barkha suddenly descend on the scene? I would think authorities should look into her financial dealings of a couple of weeks prior and post this video.

But more importantly – she has not only breached Press Council of India’s Norms of Journalistic Conduct by cherry-picking just one issue and unilaterally introducing one side’s argument – making the exercise grossly unfair and unethical, she is also guilty of participating in the breach committed by Susan Walker on SSR and his family. On some reading of the law, it may amount to obstruction of justice.

Thus the video of Susan Walker’s statement on Barkha’s Youtube channel gaining views and its consequential income becomes proceeds of crime.

And she should not be entitled to that income.

All those fighting for #JusticeforSushant – should write to Youtube India and ask for the video to be removed and reverse any view gains and income generated from the debauched act.

Barkha – you may be jobless – please respect the profession that gave you identity and reason to exist.

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