The Supreme Court has reiterated that examination of a report of an independent medical expert is crucial before proceeding against a doctor accused of medical negligence. Earlier, the Apex Court for the case in Jacob Mathew v. State of Punjab & Anr., (2005) 6 SCC 1, laid down guidelines governing the prosecution of doctors for the offense of criminal negligence, punishable under Section 304A of IPC.
A private complaint may not be entertained unless the complainant produces prima facie evidence before the Court in the form of a credible opinion given by another competent doctor to support the charge negligence. The investigating officer should, before proceeding against the doctor accused of negligence, obtain an independent and competent medical opinion, preferably from a doctor in government service qualified in that branch of medical practice. A doctor accused of negligence should not be arrested in a routine manner unless his arrest is necessary for furthering the investigation or unless there is a flight risk.
“The investigating officer and the private complainant cannot always be supposed to have knowledge of medical science so as to determine whether the act of the accused medical professional amounts to rash or negligent act within the domain of criminal law under Section 304-A of IPC. The criminal process once initiated subjects the medical professional to serious embarrassment and sometimes harassment," the bench lead down this principle. Read the legal judgment in India…
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