New criminal laws worry medicos as sections dealing with negligence suggest jail term, fine

Dr Arun Gupta, President Delhi Medical Council, said, "Earlier, the provision under 304 A did not specify medical professions, and it was of a general nature
What has them worried?
What has them worried?(Pic: EdexLive Desk)

On National Doctor's Day, many doctors were united in protesting a specific section of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), which replaced longstanding British-era laws.

The new law requires doctors to pay a fine and also face a five-year jail term, if found guilty of a negligent act that does not amount to culpable homicide.

Earlier, under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), there was a provision for a fine or two-year jail term.

Dr Arun Gupta, President Delhi Medical Council, said, "Earlier, the provision under 304 A did not specify medical professions, and it was of a general nature. However, the new law brings modern medicine practitioners into the ambit and clearly defines them. The law now makes jail term mandatory."

He said the doctors were apprehensive. "This will be a big deterrent for doctors handling critically ill patients. What kind of protection will they have now? he asked. The Supreme Court had also said that police cannot register a case against a doctor unless they get a clearance of prime facie from a competent medical body," he added.

Dr RV Asokan, National President, Indian Medical Association, said they shared their views with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah that doctors should be exempt from the law as they don't have criminal intent. "The new law has increased the punishment for the doctors. Doctors don't deserve this," he said.

Dr Rohan Krishnan, FAIMA's (Federation of All India Medical Association) National Chairman, said, "What was promised in Parliament has not been delivered."

Dr Dhruv Chauhan, National Council Coordinator of the Indian Medical Association - Junior Doctors Network (IMA-JDN) said, "The doctors working in the critical departments already have to worry before treating a sick patient thinking what if anything happens to the patient by trying to save life by critical approach

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