DIRECTOR GENERAL of Police Bua Singh has directed police officials to take utmost precautions while arresting doctors accused of negligence in the wake of the Supreme Court judgment and directives in a criminal case (No S-144-145 of 2002) — Jacob Mathew vs. State of Punjab and others.
In a circular issued here on Friday, the DGP has directed that a doctor should be arrested only when it is prima facie established that this is necessary for collection of evidences or for investigation and also when the investigating officer is satisfied on the basis of available evidences that the doctor concerned could escape.
The directive says that all cases involving doctors with allegations of negligence in treatment should be seen in the light of the fact that such cases need technical/medical knowledge that is normally not there with the complainant or the investigating officer and as such they could not take a highly specialised decision whether the doctor’s act was punishable under Section 304 A or not.
To establish medical negligence against a doctor, circumstances as well as opinion of an equally competent, unbiased and government doctor must be taken into account before initiating legal action or arresting any accused doctor, the directive says.
The DGP has directed police personnel that the Apex Court had also issued guidelines on such sensitive cases after consulting and taking expert views of the Government of India and the Medical Council of India and the police personnel must strictly follow the guidelines while investigating cases of doctors’ negligence. He directed senior police officers, to apprise subordinates of the SC ruling and guidelines and keep a watch that all cases involving doctors must be probed accordingly.