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Criminal liability for medical negligence: a drastic change?

M R Hariharan Nair

DOI: 10.20529/IJME.2004.061


The Supreme Court declared on August 4, 2004, in Dr Suresh Gupta’s Criminal Appeal [Appeal (crl.) 778 of 2004] that to sustain a prosecution for the offence under S. 304A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and to fix criminal liability on a doctor or surgeon, the standard of negligence required to be proved should be so high that it can be described as ‘gross negligence’ or ‘recklessness’, not merely lack of necessary care. On those premises it quashed the criminal proceedings against Dr Gupta before they reached trial in the Magistrate’s Court.

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