Court upholds doctor`s conviction in medical negligence case in Delhi

A Delhi court has upheld the conviction of a doctor for negligently terminating a woman`s pregnancy leading to her death and said he was not even qualified for conducting the procedure.

PTI| Last Updated: Jun 01, 2014, 11:26 AM IST

New Delhi: A Delhi court has upheld the conviction of a doctor for negligently terminating a woman`s pregnancy leading to her death and said he was not even qualified for conducting the procedure.

District and Sessions judge Ina Malhotra upheld the conviction of Dr Yashwant Kumar Jha, who was running a private clinic, but reduced his jail term awarded by the trial court from 18 months to one year for the offence under section 304A (causing death due to negligence) of the IPC.

The offence entails a maximum of two years` jail term.
The judge, who was hearing the doctor`s appeal against his conviction and sentence by the trial court, enhanced the fine imposed on him from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000.

"Given the facts of the case that the accused (Jha) took it upon himself to conduct a procedure which he was neither qualified nor authorised to do, and which unfortunately took the life of a young woman, the order of conviction cannot be assailed," the judge said while upholding his conviction.

"While doctors may be given the protection against any of their action resulting in risk as in the present one, what makes Jha guilty of the offence is that he was not qualified to conduct medical termination of pregnancy," the court said.
It also relied on the statement of a team of doctors from AIIMS which was sent to inspect Jha`s clinic.

The sessions court was hearing the appeal filed by the doctor in the case of medical negligence in which Gayatri, who was six weeks` pregnant, died in 1996.

Seeking acquittal, the doctor claimed before the judge that Gayatri was aware of the risk involved in the termination and had given her consent for any harm during the procedure.

He further said that he was practising for the past eight years and was holding a diploma in electro homoeopathy medical system.

The case was lodged by Ranbir Singh Verma, husband of the woman, alleging that Gayatri had died due to administration of a wrong injection and insufficient or improper facilities at the clinic to carry out the termination.