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HC order to heal case of doctor-witnesses

This High Court order is set to prove analgesic to many a doctor’s pain. The court has directed all lower courts that doctors appearing as witnesses in legal cases should be asked to attend courts only at 2 pm and be provided chairs, reports Harish V Nair.

delhi Updated: Aug 21, 2009 01:13 IST
Harish V. Nair

This High Court order is set to prove analgesic to many a doctor’s pain. The court has directed all lower courts that doctors appearing as witnesses in legal cases should be asked to attend courts only at 2 pm and be provided chairs.

The court's judgment arrived in the context of the plight of medics who have treated accident victims—and inadvertently booked themselves as court witnesses—condemned to roam not the wards of hospitals, but the never-ending labyrinth of court hearings.

Take the case of Dr. Satish Bhalla.

When Dr Bhalla attended to accident victim Vikas Goel, he hardly knew he would have to depose in a criminal case and compensation claims case filed by Goel in a sessions court and the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal.

Dr Bhalla also had to authenticate the medico-legal certificate issued by him and explain the injury to Goel.

The summons did not specify the time of hearing but Dr Bhalla reached court at 10:30 am when the judge started hearing cases listed for the day.

“I waited and waited. Worse, there was no chair to sit. Finally, my turn came at 4 p.m. and the hearing was fixed for another day,” he said.

On that day too, Bhalla was in for a similar experience. “But thankfully my deposition was recorded at 4:30 pm. Two whole days wasted when my patients were suffering in the hospital.”

With the HC’s order, these painful symptoms are to ease up. The order was issued after Digvijay Yagya, an NGO of doctors, approached the court.

"Doctors attached to medical colleges, hospitals.. when summoned as witnesses should be asked to attend courts at 2 p.m. and this fact should be mentioned in summons. They may also be provided chairs," said a circular .