Registered with MCI but not state medical council: Court awards relief to Mumbai Doctor
Mumbai: Upholding a lower court's order, a session court has given relief to a doctor charged with practicing without a valid medical license. The court has accepted the closure report submitted by the Police as well in the matter.
Noting that the doctor was registered under the Indian Medical Council Act without any lapse, the Sessions Court observed that Maharashtra Medical Practitioners (MMP) Act doesn't require a doctor to register a doctor with all the four authorities (Indian Medical Council, MMP, Bombay Homeopathic Act, and Maharashtra Medical Council Act) at the same time.
The case concerns a city-based doctor who was made accused by a resident of Colaba. The doctor treated the petitioner's mother and operated on her for a fractured femur at a south Mumbai hospital in January 2013. However, only after a few days, the patient passed away and her daughter approached the lower court.
The petitioner had alleged that the registration of the doctor had been cancelled in 1988 by Maharashtra Medical Council. However, the doctor had been still practising till the date of the operation without any valid license and this amounted to cheating.
However, the magistrate's court in 2017 accepted the police's C Summary report. Such a report gets filed when a case is filled because of a "mistake of facts" or in case the Police find it to be a civil case.
As per the latest media report by the Times of India, the petitioner approached the Sessions Court afterwards in 2018.
Before the Sessions Court, the counsel for the doctor had argued that he had been registered under the Indian Medical Council Act, without lapse. He further submitted before the court that Maharashtra Medical Council registration had also been renewed by the doctor with a penalty.
After listening to all the arguments, the Sessions Court had observed, that it found no evidence which would show that the doctor had any intention to deceive the petitioner or her mother.
"...there is no dispute about qualification of respondent no 3 [Saraf] as doctor. There is no evidence on record which goes to show that this is a case medical negligence on the part of doctor while treating his patient. As such, no prima facie case is made out... under section 420 (cheating)," the court said.
The Court had further referred to Maharashtra Medical Practitioners (MMP) Act, which mentioned that medical practitioners could be barred unless their names were in the register maintained under the act or the register of the list prepared under Bombay Homeopathic Act or registers maintained under Maharashtra Medical Council Act or Indian Medical Register.
Pointing out that the MMP Act hadn't made it mandatory for a doctor to register with all the four authorities, the Sessions Court judgment further added,
"...as per report submitted by the police... it appears that respondent no 3 [Saraf] since 1971 till date remains registered with Indian Medical Council... and therefore has been registered as provided under the MMP Act..."
Further quoting the magistrate's order which held that lapse in registration would not amount to criminal lapse but could be professional misconduct, the Court further noted,
"I do agree the lapse for the period 1988 to October, 2013 is not criminal lapse and so for as professional misconduct is concerned it is for the departmental authority to decide."
Thus, taking note of all these facts and contentions, upholding the lower court judgment, the Sessions Court dismissed the petition.