Chh HC | Principles laid down by SC for registration of FIR against doctors under S. 154(1) CrPC, apply with equal force while CJM acting under S. 156(3)

Chhattisgarh High Court: Sanjay K. Agarwal, J. while allowing a writ petition filed by a registered medical practitioner, held that the jurisdictional criminal court has to follow the directions issued by the Supreme Court in the matters of Jacob Mathew v. State of Punjab, (2005) 6 SCC 1 and Martin F. D’Souza v. Mohd. Ishfaq, (2009) 3 SCC 1, while directing registration of FIR and investigation under Section 156(3) CrPC against medical professionals.

The petitioner was a qualified gynaecologist. One patient, who was admitted to her Nursing Home, delivered a girl child and thereafter Conventional Tubectomy was performed on her by the petitioner. However, after that, the patient developed some complaints and she was shifted to another hospital where she passed away. Relatives of the deceased accused the petitioner of medical negligence. Complaint was filed against her with the Police. Inquiry was made; the Chief Medical and Health Officer also deputed four doctors to file a report. In the said report, it was found that there was no negligence on the part of the petitioner. However, some time thereafter, the mother of the deceased approached the Chief Judicial Magistrate with an application under Section 156(3), where under the CJM directed the SHO concerned to hold a preliminary enquiry, after which FIR was registered against the petitioner for offences punishable under Sections 269 and 304-A IPC. Aggrieved thereby, the petitioner filed the present petition.

Abhishek Sinha and Vaibhav Maheshwari, Advocates for the petitioner contended that the impugned order was sustainable as the petitioner did not first comply with provisions of Sections 154(1) and 154(3), Ravi Kumar Bhagat, Deputy Government Advocate submitted that the final closure report was yet to be filed. Abhishek Sharma, Advocate representing the mother of the deceased supported the order under challenge.

The High Court noted precautions and principles laid down by the Supreme Court in the aforenoted two cases which have been consistently followed in subsequent judgments. The High Court was of the view that the order of the CJM was not unsustainable for more than one reason. It was, inter alia, held: “the principle of law laid down by the Supreme Court in Jacob Mathew and Martin D’Souza for registration of criminal case against a doctor before registering an FIR under Section 154(1) of the CrPC by getting an expert opinion from a qualified doctor would apply with equal force while registering /directing for registration of offence under Section 156(3)…” It was reiterated: “obtaining a medical opinion from experts was sine qua non for direction of registration and investigation of offences against medical practitioners.” Since the directions were not followed by the CJM in the present case, the impugned order was held unsustainable was thereby quashed. The petition was, thus allowed. [Krishna Dixit v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2019 SCC OnLine Chh 47, dated 14-05-2019]

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