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Rajasthan doctor suicide: PIL filed in Supreme Court for CBI inquiry into incident

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A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions for constituting a CBI inquiry into the circumstances which led to the death by suicide of a young doctor under mysterious conditions. The PIL filed by the Indian Medical Association (Dwarka) sought the CBI probe to find out the perpetrators of the incident and bring them to justice to deter others.

The PIL further seeks comprehensive guidelines for protection of doctors who are regularly falling victim to physical assault at the slightest suspicion over treatment and delay recovery of the patients and for evolving a mechanism to compensate the family and dependents of such deceased doctors who lose their lives in public service.

It is further prayed to issue a comprehensive guideline for establishment of digitally equipped medico-legal cells in all police stations across the country to handle the cases of medical negligence.

According to the PIL, the recent incident death by suicide of practicing gynaecologist, namely Dr Archana Sharma of Jaipur (Rajasthan) on 29.03.2022, is a grim reminder of ugly treatment being meted out to treating doctors. Doctors nowadays are under the constant fear of being assaulted and harassed at the slightest delay in recovery of patients and the state police are freely registering FIRs under serious charges including Section 302 of IPC 1860.

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It is further submitted that the incident of Jaipur has stirred widespread protest across the country by a large number of doctors fearing for their lives and asking for protection from the government, so that doctors are not harassed or tortured after the treatment of patients.

The IMA (Dwarka) submitted that the doctors had played a pivotal role as corona warriors during the Covid-19 outbreak across the country and their services had been acknowledged and recognized across the world.

“The medical profession is considered to be a noble profession as it helps in preserving lives and the doctor is key to the preservation. A patient generally approaches a doctor/hospital with hope of treatment and under full faith that the treating doctor will not harm in any manner either because of the negligence, carelessness, recklessness etc.”

-states the PIL.

It is alleged that the allegations leveled by the local state police under the serious charges of murder of a patient is completely arbitrary to the provision of law and the same needs to be investigated that under what circumstance the FIR was registered under the serious criminal charges. There is widespread discontent among the doctor’s fraternity who had faced arbitrary criminal charges under the garb of medical negligence.

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Following grounds are mentioned in the PIL:-

(a) Because, state government has failed to institute enquiry in the whole incident which led to the death of young treating doctor leaving behind her minor children by committing a suicide on 29.03.2022. While, the state police become accomplice to the whole incident and played active role in torturing the deceased doctor and her family. Therefore, the independence of investigation cannot be expected from the state police. As such, there is an immediate requirement for investigation of this incident by an independent institution like CBI without any further delay.

(b) Because, such incidents of Lalsot, Dausa (Rajasthan) are quite common across the country and there are no regulations/policies/guidelines on prevention of such unfortunate incidents and a large number of doctors are becoming deceased on account of unprotected atmosphere of profession.

(c) Because, there is an urgent need for laying down a comprehensive guideline for immediate protection of treating doctors in a circumstance when there is allegation of medical negligence on a doctor and the treating doctor is constantly being exposed to threats from the attendants of the patients as well as the local police.

(d) Because, the state police have not acted in a responsible manner which resulted in the death of the young doctor under mysterious circumstances. Hence, the doctor’s community has no faith in state police and it is urgently required that a CBI enquiry may be instituted to find out the real culprit who are responsible for the death of the treating doctor.

(e) Because, the state police is not having adequate training for dealing with medico-legal cases under the light of settled positions of law which further compounded the situation and ultimately said an inevitable incident has happened. As such, there is an urgent requirement for training of the police officials for handling medico-legal cases with specific qualification enabling the police officer to understand the cases of medical negligence.

(f) Because, there is an urgent need for the creation of a medicolegal cell at every police station across the country to look into the incidences related to medical negligence cases like instant cases which could have been handled at much effective sensitivity in order to ward off the said horrible incidents.

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