The February issue has invoked a very interesting query from many
of our subscribers – On the one hand the cover page boldly declares,
“Landmark judgment of the Supreme Court - Welcome relief to Doctors”
but Note 4 (page n7) states that “Supreme Court reiterates its
viewpoint on medical negligence – Nothing new”. Why this
contradiction? What is the truth?
Your questions are logical. The answer lies in the fact that law
is capable of different interpretations, at times diametrically
opposite. Law develops this way. Therefore, different
interpretations of a judgment are possible.
In this particular case (Dr. Martin F. D’souza v/s Mohd. Ishfaq)
the editorial team was of the opinion that the directions of the
Supreme Court to the Consumer Courts, not to issue notice to doctors
in cases of medical negligence without a proper medical opinion, was
a landmark. In fact all the newspapers in India termed this judgment
as a landmark. But Advocate Aman Vachher, who is a very reputed and
respected lawyer in the Supreme Court, held a different opinion and
his justifications were very logical and in accordance with the law.
The fact remains that not only in this case, but in many others,
consumer courts were usually seeking opinion on clinical issues.
Thus, practically, there was nothing new. Hence his viewpoint was
published, although it was contradictory to the views held by the
One of the basic principles of journalism is to bring forth both
sides of a debate. We have humbly attempted to follow this
principle. It is for you to independently assess both the
propositions and draw a conclusion.
There is one more request. The Ministry of Health and Family
Welfare (Government of India) has drafted The National Health Bill,
2009, and is seeking suggestions from the public on the same. This
piece of legislation directly affects doctors and some provisions
are very harsh to them. All of you must read, discuss, and give
suggestions on this Bill, so that appropriate amendments can be
carried out and the interest of the medical fraternity in India can
be safeguarded. You can directly download this Bill from:
Advocate Supreme Court of India