New Delhi: With the Supreme Court ruling
that doctors cannot be "unnecessarily harassed" due to alleged
medical negligence, the medical fraternity has welcomed it
saying it will allow professionals to work without stress.
"This is what we had been struggling for. The society
should not create a situation where doctors are working under
stress," Medical Council of India President Ketan Desai told
a news agency.
He asserted that no doctor will take a decision which
will harm the patient as this will ruin the pratice of any
"A doctor thrives only on the goodwill of his
patients. Why he should do anything to ruin his reputation,"
The court said to prosecute a medical professional
for negligence under criminal law it must be shown that the
accused did something or failed to do something which in the
given facts and circumstances no medical professional in his
ordinary senses and prudence would have done or failed to do.
However, it clarified that "we should not be
understood to have held that doctors can never be prosecuted
for medical negligence".
According to Dr Narendra Saini, member of the Indian
Medical Association, the Supreme Court has really understood
the problem of the medical professionals.
"A doctor is not a machine. For one problem there can
be different solutions. It is upto a doctor to decide which
one is the best. He or she should not be victimised if that
does not work out," he said.
The court has held that the medical practitioners at
times also have to be saved from such a class of complainants
who use criminal process as a tool for pressurising the
hospitals, particularly private hospitals or clinics, for
extracting uncalled for compensation.
Arguing that doctors should be allowed to work without
fear and stress, Desai said, "Every doctor takes decisions
according to their experience and skills. This should not be
construed as negligence".
According to current rules, anyone who has a complaint
against any medical practitioner has to first complain with
the state medical councils.
If the state council fails to take any action within
six months, then the complainant has a right to approach the
Over the last three years the MCI has suspended or
debarred around 400 doctors for medical malpractices.