Issue GO on rules for registering case against doctors, says Madras high court

Chennai: The Madras high court has directed the Tamil Nadu government to inform the guidelines framed through a government order, which should be strictly followed while registering case against the medical officer for negligent act or omission, to all authorities concerned immediately.

Justice K. Ravichandrabaabu gave the directive while disposing of a petition from Dr K. Thangamuthu, which sought a direction to the state government to frame statutory rules or executive instructions incorporating guidelines as per the orders of the Supreme Court, in consultation with the Medical Council of India, pursuant to the recommendations of Ethics Committee.

Petitioner’s counsel Anand David submitted that in the year 2005, the Supreme Court had observed that it was necessary to frame certain guidelines by the Central and state governments for prosecuting the doctors and till such time, the guidelines framed by it has to be followed. However, the guidelines issued by the apex court have not been complied with till date. In spite of such guidelines, the threat of private complaint/registration of FIR and arrest was looming large and doctors were facing harassment. Doctors were working under extreme pressure and if they were subjected to face frivolous prosecution their hands would be tied and will not be able to take bold decisions while treating patients, Anand David added.

 The judge said when the matter was taken up on earlier occasion it was informed that already guidelines were farmed by the state government. Additional government pleader I. Sathish was directed to verify as to whether any further guidelines were issued or the guidelines issued in a GO dated July 4, 2008, hold the field as on today. Accordingly, the AGP Sathish produced a letter dated January 22, 2019, addressed by the principal secretary to government to him, the judge added.

Extracting certain paragraphs of the letter, which among other things stated that the orders issued in GO dated July 4, 2008,  shall be strictly followed while registering case against the medical officer for negligent act or omission, the judge said the counsel for the petitioner submitted that the submission made by the principal secretary to government may be recorded. "Considering the fact that the guidelines were already issued through a GO dated July 4, 2008,  and in view of the fact that those guidelines are stated to be still in force, this petition is disposed of, by recording the facts and circumstances", the judge added and gave the above directive.

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