Operating Surgeon Can't Be Held Guilty Of Negligence Just Because Patient Passed Away After Reaching Home: P&H HC [Read Order]

Operating Surgeon Cant Be Held Guilty Of Negligence Just Because Patient Passed Away After Reaching Home: P&H HC [Read Order]

The Punjab and Haryana High Court recently quashed a case against a government doctor, opining that he cannot be charged with negligence just because the patient complained of pain and passed away soon after reaching home.

Justice Kuldip Singh observed, "Doctor was duly qualified being M.B.B.S. M.S. (General Surgery). It is not alleged that he was drunkard or he used the tools which were not meant for surgery. He performed surgery in several cases…
…For offence under Section 304A IPC, it must be proved that the Act was rash and negligent. The doctor performed surgery and except the fact that subsequently, the patient on reaching home, complained of acute pain, will not be sufficient to conclude that the petitioner doctor was negligent in performing surgery."
The court was hearing a petition filed by a Senior Medical Officer Dr. Manish Bansal, demanding quashing of an FIR filed against him under Section 304A (causing death by negligence) of the Indian Penal Code. He had contended that he should be discharged for the lack of sanction to prosecute him under Section 197(8) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
The complainant had alleged that his daughter-in-law had passed away due to the petitioner's negligence. The deceased had undergone a sterlization operation conducted by the petitioner. On reaching home from the hospital in a government vehicle, she complained of acute pain. She was then being brought back to the hospital, but passed away on the way.
The court, however, noted that the postmortem report eliminated any negligence on the part of the operating surgeon. The cause of death was found to be shock and haemorrhage.
The court further pointed out that sanction was required before framing of charges against the petitioner, observing, "Further, in this case, the petitioner was a government doctor. He was performing official duties and was conducting sterilization operations. Several operations were conducted. Therefore, the sanction of the petitioner was required from the competent authority to prosecute the petitioner under Section 197 Cr.P.C., since alleged act was done by the petitioner in the discharge of his official duties. The said sanction was required before the Court could take the cognizance."
The doctor's petition was, therefore allowed, and the FIR along with the consequential proceedings were quashed.
Read the Order Here