Mumbai: Special cell to be set up to protect doctors, says state tells HC

The state government, on Wednesday, told the Bombay high court that it would constitute a special cell to verify allegations of medical negligence leveled by the relatives of patients against doctors. The state said that the cell will cross-check if the allegations are genuine. This will avoid filing of an FIR against a doctor directly.

The bench headed by chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice Girish Kulkarni was hearing a PIL filed by Pune-based Dr. Rajeev Joshi, highlighting the rise in assault cases on doctors and even the increase in FIRs being filed against them over complaints by the families of patients.

Advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni told the bench that the cell will comprise of experts from the medical field, senior police officers and other stakeholders.

“They will first examine the complaints and verify the contentions. Only if the complaints are prima facie true, in the opinion of the members of this cell, an FIR will be filed,” said Kumbhakoni, adding, “The cell will also look into the complaints by doctors against the patients’ families who indulge in vandalism and destroy the hospital property and attack doctors.”

Kumbhakoni told the judges that the cell will be made functional by next week. Having heard his side, chief justice Datta pointed out that in his hometown, West Bengal, a similar committee was constituted which comprised nine members and included IPS officers who also had an MBBS degree. “There is a separate law to protect doctors from any kind of assault from relatives of a patient. I believe the state government can draw inspiration from such legislation and have one of its own,” the chief justice said.

The matter is adjourned for two weeks.

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