Breaking News: Home Minister Amit Shah Announces Revolutionary Plan to Decriminalize Medical Negligence in India
20 Dec 2023 • In a groundbreaking development, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has made an unprecedented announcement in Parliament, revealing plans to decriminalize instances of medical negligence by doctors.
This move has elicited widespread acclaim from the medical community, marking a significant shift in the regulatory landscape surrounding healthcare professionals in India.
The Home Minister, in his statement, has promised to introduce an official amendment aimed at absolving doctors from criminal negligence.
A Brief Overview of the Events Leading up to This Moment:
- Earlier this month, the Indian Medical Association had asked for the professional service of doctors to be exempted from criminal prosecution in the proposed Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023 (revamped Indian Penal Code, IPC 1860).
- Sharad Kumar Agarwal, IMA National President stressed that It would be difficult for doctors to do their job, he said, if medical mishaps were viewed through the lens of criminal intent.
- The letter pointed out that “causing death of a patient without mens rea (state of mind implying criminal intent) cannot be termed a criminal act. No police officer should be able to conduct inquiry or investigation into alleged medical negligence offenses committed by a qualified and registered medical practitioner without prior opinion of gross negligence specified by an expert committee as per the recommendations of the NMC (National Medical Commission) to MOHFW (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare).”
- “Only the statutory bodies such as State Councils/ NMC should be empowered to refer such cases as criminal negligence to be filed in criminal courts after the element of gross negligence in care has been opined by the medical experts,” it added.
This present move, lauded by the medical community, reflects a nuanced understanding of the challenges faced by practitioners and emphasizes the need for a collaborative framework between statutory bodies and medical experts - ultimately paving the way for a more conducive work environment for doctors.