SC order a great relief for doctors

The Supreme Court ruling that doctors cannot be prosecuted for simple negligence is most welcome (Aug 6). Hereafter, doctors can treat their parents to the fullest of their ability without the worry of being mobbed or arrested if something goes wrong in the treatment of serious or ordinary patients, especially in emergency cases.

It is not that only serious patients can have fatal complications. Even a healthy person can have sudden death due to severe allergic reactions, heart attack, brain haemorrhage or heavy bleeding. In such cases, a doctor should not be held guilty of being negligent.

There is a tendency to blame the doctor for lapses even beyond his/her control. In most cases, it is the complications and not the negligence for which the doctor is harassed and made to attend the courts, wasting his time and energy.

There is too much stress in medical profession. When things go right, you are treated like a god. Otherwise, you are branded as a criminal and your services are forgotten. The faith reposed by the apex court in the doctors will help improve the doctor-people relations.




The ruling is welcome, but the Supreme Court has failed to clear the environment from the pollutants gathered since its 1995 order which put the medical profession within the ambit of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) and provided for summary trial of doctors by consumer courts.

The 1995 order had opened the floodgates of false and frivolous litigation. The doctor-patient relationship was affected and the dignity of the profession was impaired. The latest ruling will partially restore the mutual confidence between the doctor and the patient.

If a doctor is doing a criminal act, he can be dealt with like an ordinary criminal under the law of the land. But should he be punished for trying his best to save a patient’s life?

The Supreme Court has rightly directed the law enforcement agencies not to proceed against doctors accused of rash or negligent act or omission without obtaining an independent and competent medical opinion to support the charges. The doctors are your friends in need, but they are not guarantors of cure. No doctor deliberately wants to harm his patients.

Dr RAM KUMAR, Chandigarh


The Supreme Court ruling is timely and logical. Of late, people make doctors scapegoats for no valid reason. At times, even the negligence of para-medical staff is considered to be the doctor’s blunder.

Worse, complaints against doctors under the Consumer Protection Act have become too common. Do people understand and evaluate the stress a doctor has to bear in his/her daily life, the conditions prevailing in the health centres or the facilities available in the nursing homes or hospitals where the patients are admitted?

Even in the best medical centres, the success rate in each and every disease or medical condition cannot be 100 per cent. Modern medical science has its own limitations. After all, death cannot be conquered, it can only be delayed.



The ruling was long overdue. Before this judgement, doctors were finding it increasingly difficult to treat patients, especially the serious ones, because of daily reports of arrest and registration of cases against the doctors. The administration, under pressure from the mob or politicians, was forced to register cases against the doctors without seeking expert opinion. With this judgement, if the doctor’s gross negligence is proved by the second opinion of the expert, it is punishable and definitely it should be.

The latest ruling will go a long way in helping the patients too. Doctors will treat patients without pressure and in an environment free from anxiety or fear. This will help bridge the widening gap of mistrust and lack of confidence between the patients and the doctors.

The NGOs, social and doctors’ associations should come forward to evolve strategies for both patients and doctors to create awareness and build mutual trust for the benefit of society at large.

Dr VITULL K. GUPTA, Bathinda


The doctors should be made accountable even if simple negligence is proved against them. Otherwise, they will not bother to take care of the patients during  emergencies.


Time to manage floods

The need for effective disaster management has become greater after the recent floods in a few states. Well before the arrival of the monsoon, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had advised the Chief Ministers of all states to take appropriate steps including contingency measures to tackle floods or drought if the rain-god does not smile.

Surprisingly, however, no Chief Minister took the Prime Minister’s advice seriously. Gujarat and Maharashtra had heavy rains. Mumbai, the country’s commercial capital, experienced the worst type of floods.

Equally surprising is the fact that instead of taking the Chief Ministers to task for their dereliction of duty, the Centre is generously releasing funds to these states. I am not against providing relief to the marooned. They deserve all help. But come next year, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram will indirectly levy more taxes on the people!

K.K. BHARDWAJ, Patiala


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