Medical professionals cannot escape liability on acting negligently: Bombay HC

“The time has come for weeding out careless and negligent persons in the medical profession”.

Bombay High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Sadhana S. Jadhav, J., rejected the application filed under Section 438 CrPC for grant of anticipatory bail in a case registered under Section 304 read with 34 IPC on raising a thought that “When a doctor fails in his duty, does it not tantamount to criminal negligence?

In the present case, Applicant 2 had conducted cesarean of the deceased and further the deceased was readmitted within 24 hours of discharge after a successful delivery without the presence of the doctors and merely on a telephonic prescription of medicines, etc. for the patient. The said applicant-doctor, at the time of the discharge after the delivery of a child, was not present and had in advance prepared the discharge papers of the deceased, also on the re-admission the applicant was not present, still directed the nurses to admit the deceased by giving prescription without the diagnosis.

The High Court on due consideration of the facts and circumstances of the case observed that the primary issue in the case is of “Prescription without diagnosis and hence resulting into death of the patient amounts to criminal negligence on the part of the doctors”. Therefore, the Court on perusal of the records stated that Courts cannot ignore the ethical nature of the medical law by liberally extending legal protection to the medical professional. Breach of duties would certainly fall in the realm of a criminal law of negligence. Hence, the present appeal does not lead the Court in favour of the applicants. [Deepa Sanjeev Pawaskar v. State of Maharashtra, 2018 SCC OnLine Bom 1841, order dated 25-07-2018]

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