Taking note of the rising incidents of filing Criminal negligence against the doctors, the MP High Court has laid down stringent guidelines for initiating criminal proceedings against a doctor on charges of negligence either by the police or a court.
The learned judge Justice J P Gupta said that utmost caution must be exercised while prosecuting a doctor, as a “ medical practitioner faced with an emergency normally does his best to redeem the patient out of his suffering and dangling fear of facing a criminal prosecution in the event of failure forces timidity upon him.”
The judge said “A surgeon with shaky hands under fear of legal action cannot perform a successful surgery and a quivering physician cannot administer the end dose of medicine to his patient. If the hands are trembling with the dangling fear of facing a criminal prosecution in the event of failure for whatever reason- whether attributable to him or not, neither can a surgeon wield his life-saving scalpel to perform an essential surgery, no can a physician successfully administer the life-saving dose of medicine. Such timidity forced upon a Doctor would be a disservice to society. The criminal law has placed medical professionals on a pedestal different from ordinary mortals.
The court observed that cases of doctors being subjected to criminal prosecution are on the rise and said instructions incorporating the guidelines need to be framed and issued by the government in consultation with the Medical Council of India, so that the medical professionals can work without any fear of prosecution in cases of bad outcome.
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