Bombay High Court: Swapna Joshi, J. partly allowed a criminal appeal and altered the conviction of the appellant — an Ayurvedic certificate holder — from the one under Section 304 (II) IPC to that under Section 304-A IPC.
The appellant was convicted for causing the death of two deceased persons. The deceased had visited the appellant for treatment of knee pain. The appellant, who was not qualified as a doctor/medical practitioner, administered an injection to the deceased. Both the deceased persons, after administration of the injection, developed lumps which resulted in their deaths. The appellant was convicted under Section 304 (II) IPC and Section 33 of the Maharashtra Medical Practitioner Act, 1961. Aggrieved thereby, the appellant filed the present appeal.
According to the High Court: “The accused was not registered as a medical practitioner. He was simply a certificate holder in Ayurvedic Medicine. He was under a statutory duty not to enter the filed of any other system of medicines as he was not qualified in other system i.e. allopathy. The accused trespassed into a prohibited field and therefore he is liable to be prosecuted under Section 33 of the Maharashtra Medical Practitioners Act, 1961.”
However, the Court was of the view that his conviction for committing culpable homicide not amounting to murder was liable to be altered to causing death by negligence. Holding that the appellant had no knowledge the injury was likely to cause death, the High Court observed: The learned trial Judge should have considered the evidence led by the prosecution witnesses in its right perspective. In the instant case, the accused did not have a knowledge that the death was likely to be caused due to the act of administering unsterilised injections. It appears that the accused in good-faith has treated both the deceased to relieve them from knee pain from which they were suffering. The conduct of the accused shows that the accused has taken Muktabai from one doctor to the other to save her life, however, unfortunately, she succumbed to her injuries and died due to septicemia which was developed due to the piercing of the injections. There is no convincing evidence on record to show that the accused had a knowledge that due to the piercing of the injection, the lump would be created, due to which, septicemia would cause.”
Resultantly, the criminal appeal filed by the appellant was partly allowed in the terms above. [Bhupal Malayya Agbattini v. State of Maharashtra, Crl. Appeal no. 406 of 2018, decided on 09-04-2019]