IPC, too, had jail term for medicos over death by medical negligence: Health Ministry

The ministry said that upon receiving representations from the medical practitioners, section 106.1 was amended, and the term of imprisonment was reduced from five years to two years.
Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan
Union Education Minister Dharmendra PradhanFile Photo | PTI

NEW DELHI: The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Tuesday issued a clarification stating that the IMA’s objections to controversial section 106.1 of the Bharatiya Nayay Sanhita, which states a jail term for a medical practitioner in case of death by negligence, were also provisioned in the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which has been replaced by the new criminal law.

The ministry said that upon receiving representations from the medical practitioners, section 106.1 was amended, and the term of imprisonment was reduced from 5 years to 2, akin to section 304(A) of the IPC, which dealt with the similar offence of causing death by negligence.

“When the Bill to replace IPC with the BNS was introduced in Lok Sabha in December, 2023, the death caused by negligence was made punishable with imprisonment up to 5 years and fine under section 106(1) of BNS, 2023. The representations were received from medical practioners and the said section 106(1) of BNS, 2023 was amended to provide that if such act of negligence is done by registered medical practioners while performing medical procedure, they shall be punished with imprisonment up to 2 years and fine. It may be seen that the punishment for causing death by negligence by medical practitioners is imprisonment up to 2 years even now,” the note by Ministry read.

Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan
Jail term to medicos for negligence: IMA to hold sensitization drive against BNS

Reacting to it, IMA chief RV Asokan told this newspaper that it’s surprising that the Union Health Ministry is responding to the doctors’ body’s objection towards the contentious section while the Ministry of Home Affairs has maintained a studied silence.

He also pointed out that the clarification note ironically highlighted the same objection the medical fraternity has been highlighting.

“Firstly, I want to clarify it is not a protest. We won’t be hitting the streets with demonstrations. It’s a sensitization drive which will be done in a campaign mode which we do have a right in this democratic nation. Secondly, the ministry in its clarification note mentioned the same grievances we have been objecting to.

We have demanded no criminal prosecution for medical professionals. So our campaign will continue with sensitization of doctors first then dialogue with the political class and will culminate with presentation to the Prime Minister,” Asokan added.

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