HomeLegal NewsKarnataka High Court quashes chargesheet : No Expert opinion

Karnataka High Court quashes chargesheet : No Expert opinion

Bengaluru : The single bench of Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum quashed the chargesheet filed by the police against three doctors stating that the chargesheet was not substantiated by medical expert opinion on the one hand and on the other the Medical Council of India opining that there was no medical negligence. The court was hearing a case related to a 2014 police complaint that alleged that the three doctors had not followed the standard protocols and guidelines while treating a pregnant woman who was hospitalised. The bench said “…. on perusal of the charge sheet it is quite surprising to note that though the investigating officer has submitted a charge sheet, the same is not supported by any expert’s opinion.”

The counsel for the accused doctors argued that the case should be quashed, relying on an expert medical opinion which was part of a Medical Council of India order. The prosecution, on the other hand, said that the facts had to be ascertained in a trial, arguing that since it had reached the stage of filing a chargesheet, some prima facie material existed.The medical expert’s opinion quoted by the accused said, “I am firmly of the opinion that there is no evidence of negligence on the part of the obstetrician managing the case.”

“If the allegation of medical negligence is taken away as indicated in the expert’s opinion, the entire edifice on which the charge sheet is submitted goes. Therefore, if petitioners are compelled to face the prosecution for the aforesaid offences, no purpose will be served and if permitted, the same would amount to abuse of process,” the court said. “In the light of the expert’s opinion indicating that there was no negligence on the part of the petitioners, I am of the view that this is a fit case where proceedings are liable to be quashed,” it further added.

The bench also noted that as per the precedent of the case Jacob Mathew v State of Punjab, it was held that an investigating officer, before proceeding against doctors for rash and negligent acts, should first obtain an independent medical opinion from a doctor qualified in the relevant branch of medicine (ideally a government doctor).