PUNE: The medical and the legal fraternity in and outside the city has reacted sharply to the arrest of three doctors and a nurse in an alleged medical negligence case, arguing that the police action was wrong and uncalled for.
Indian Medical Association (IMA) member Avinash Bhondwe said, "Usually, IPC Section 304-A (a bailable offence) is applied for medical negligence and so it is shocking that Section 304 (II), which is a non-bailable offence, was applied here. We as doctors cannot be tried under this section."
He added that one of the doctors arrested was not even physically present and had not examined the patient. He had only suggested the treatment over the phone.
Senior medical professional Dilip Sarda said the matter had been shared with all the IMA members and the fraternity felt they cannot be wronged with wrong sections. "Our medico legal cell will look into the matter. Such sections were never ever applied for medical negligence," said the doctor.
Senior lawyer S K Jain said, "Section 304 (II) can be invoked only in case of conclusive evidence or circumstances in hospital about acts leading to the death of a patient. If such circumstances are there and an independent medical opinion is there, then only the police can justify arrest to prevent the doctor concerned from tampering with treatment papers and other evidence."
Patna HC lawyer Vindhyachal Singh
said, "There are separate sections for death caused by negligence. If it is a death caused due to negligence by a doctor, the medical committee has to prove the same and decide. Booking a doctor under Section 304 (II) is not right at all. If the committee decides that the death was caused due to negligence, then sections pertaining to the same should be put against him or her," Singh said.
SC lawyer Rajeev Ranjan
said, "It also depends upon the report filed by the medical committee formed to investigate the case. However, doctors have been generally booked under Section 304A in such cases," Ranjan said.
Senior HC lawyer Y B Giri said, "There are two forms of negligence — one criminal negligence and the other error of judgement. If it is error of judgement, the doctor cannot be booked under criminal charges. The SC has said that in such cases, the same needs to be corroborated with a medical expert or a committee. There are few acts of criminal negligence as a professional and a trained doctor will not have an intention to kill a patient or will act knowing that an action of his can cause a sure death."