HomeCriminal casesJharkhand HC : Quashes criminal proceedings under IPC 304A

Jharkhand HC : Quashes criminal proceedings under IPC 304A

“Mandates another Doctor opinion supporting negligence to proceed”

Ranchi: The Jharkhand High Court’s single bench of Justice Sanjay Kumar Dwivedi while quashing the pending complaint against the accused doctor under Sec 304A stated that a private complaint of medical negligence against a doctor can only be entertained only if prima facie evidence is being produced in the form of credible opinion of another doctor to support the negligence of the accused doctor. Effectively the court said that for the prosecution to proceed in medical negligence it is mandatory that another doctor supports the prosecution accusation of negligence against the accused doctor. The High Court relied on the judgment of Supreme Court in this regard namely “ Jacob Mathews vs State of Punjab & Martin F. D’Souza vs Md. Ishfaq”.


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The facts of the case are that the complainant mother got admitted in the hospital as she was feeling weak and was having trouble in passing urine. In the hospital the accused doctor and other junior doctors treated the patient. The patient was sifted to CCU as she was diagnosed with Urinary Track Infection. As the patient was suffering from high blood sugar she was given insulin but the patient passed away. The complainant alleged that to get medical claim he requested the doctor to give him medical records. On carefully examining the medical records the complainant realised that her mother has passed away due to heavy dose of insulin. Also the instrument used for testing glucose level was faulty which led to erroneous reading of the blood sugar level. The other allegation levelled by the complainant was that he was forced to buy medicine from the pharmacy affiliated to the doctor. Hence the doctors were negligent and he has filed a complaint against the doctor for the death of her mother. On the other hand the doctors submitted that there was no medical negligence while treating the patient and they have put their best efforts to treat the complainant mother. But despite all their efforts they could not save the patient and hence they could not be held negligent.

The High Court while relying on the judgment of Supreme Court in this regard namely “ Jacob Mathews vs State of Punjab & Martin F. D’Souza vs Md. Ishfaq” said that for proceeding in a private complaint another doctor should give an opinion supporting negligence of the accused doctor. The court said “In view of the above two judgments of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, it is crystal clear that a private complaint may not be entertained unless the complainant has produced prima facie evidence in the form of credible opinion given by another doctor to support the charge of rashness or negligence on the part of the accused doctor. It appears that to allow the proceeding to continue, will amount to an abuse of the process of law.” The court further added that since the complainant has failed to get the opinion of another doctor supporting the negligence of the accused doctor the entire criminal proceeding under Section 304-A of the Indian Penal Code pending in the court of learned Judicial Magistrate, Dhanbad against the accused doctor is quashed.

To read the complete judgment of the Jharkhand High Court, click the link below…