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Doctors unnecessarily harassed in court cases, observes Madras HC

Doctors unnecessarily harassed in court cases, observes Madras HC

Chennai: Madras High Court has recently made a strong important observation about unnecessary harassment of medical professional in the court arena, in many medico legal cases. The concerned case was of two doctors at SP Hospital, who treated an acid attack victim, while on duty. The court observed that professionals, including doctors, are shy and hesitant to make an appearance in courts, due to  the unnecessary harassment in cross questioning faced by them.

“This doctor, who has stated that he gave first aid to Vidhya and referred her to government hospital has been harassed with unnecessary questions. A perusal of the cross-examination of this witness would show that most of the questions were unnecessary and unlawful, and were in the nature of harassing the doctor. There is nothing elicited from this witness to doubt his credibility. It is not understandable as to why this doctor was repeatedly asked to come to court, and subjected to cross-examination which was mostly aimed at harassing him,” observed a division bench of Justice S Nagamuthu and Justice V Bharathidasan.

The case-in-point refers to a Dr Stalin who was reportedly on-duty at S P Hospital in Adambakkam. Dr Stalin attended to Vidhya who was rushed to the hospital after being allegedly attacked by her fiancé-who allegedly poured acid on her. The reported incident took place on January 30, 2013 reports TOI.

Dr Stalin provided her with first aid. He then referred the victim to a government facility. Following which he was a prosecution witness 13 in the case and examined. Dr Stalin was subject to cross examination by the defence counsel.

It is further reported that this led to Dr Stalin facing questions from the defence lawyer during the hearing of the case in the court. During the trial, the defence lawyer implied that he should be held responsible for violation of medical ethics. Besides, he was also questioned on his integrity of service, by facing questions like why he has not joined government service on completing his MBBS course.

Defence counsel in addition bombarded the doctor through his set of questions with relation to the partnership of the hospital such as when was the hospital established, if it possesses a proper license under Tamil Nadu Private Clinical Establishment Act, 1997. Also, Dr Staling was subject to additional scrutiny like bed-accommodation and OTs are in the hospital.

Reportedly, Dr Stalin was subject to an intense cross-examination for 2-days. He was also required to visit the court three times, the court observed. Likewise, Dr Jithendher Singh also made an appearance in the court for two times, in a gap of 5 months. He spoke about the post mortem too, and had to appear in the court twice for cross examination.

7 comment(s) on Doctors unnecessarily harassed in court cases, observes Madras HC

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  1. Court constitutes, when it is open court,the, bench,bar and public. Harassment of any constituent of court amounts to harassment of the body court in reference. So legal proceedings as contempt of court can be initiated sumoto by court or be dealt by person by invoking writ of certiori. And also defamation or intimidation and extortion proceedings can be initiated if can be proved.

  2. user
    Dr Madan Goyal July 19, 2016, 7:04 pm

    In present era, one has to clearly conversant with legal procedures. Defence has a right, but only to restrict to relevant questioning. What is relevant or irrelevant can be pleaded on the spot to the judge, but discretion to allow a question lies with judge. We have to rise to new era, corruption in society and judicial system.

  3. user
    Dr. Debasish Mandal July 19, 2016, 7:24 am

    Defense lawyers not infrequently try to prove inefficiency and lack of proper qualification of the treating doctors whatever be the qualification or experience of the doctor. By doing so they practically guards the culprit / miscreants and save them from being punished and the case lingers to such an extent that in essence of justice is denied. It should be stopped.

  4. THIS IS THE DAILY GRILLING PRACTICE ADOPTED BY THE COUNSELS.THEY OFTEN ASK UNNECESSARY QTS IN FRONT OF PRESIDING OFFICER,WHICH ARE LEAST CONCERNED WITH CASES.OFTEN THE NEW DR\’S ARE HARASSED/GRUELID BY COUNSELS.COURTS ARE ALWAYS A MUTE EXPECTATOR.
    HAVE SOME SOLUTION.

  5. user
    Dr Dharmendra Kumar Dewan July 18, 2016, 12:14 pm

    As a doctor who must have attended not less than 50 appearances during 35 yrs of government service, i did find that the motive of the defense lawyers is to intimidate a doctor who is found ( by him), to be docile & meek in deposing… the court infrastructure & environment ( with the convicts also standing nearby), adds to the woes of the hapless doctor…
    It is time government & law makers realize the futility of such requirements ( if cant be done away with, it can at-least be made minimal interface only when is absolutely essential…this decision should be taken by the senior most public prosecutor)…..

Source: with inputs from TOI

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