Conceptual Analysis on Medical Liability in India

  • Karun Roy,
  • Parvathy Girish and R.Gowri Parvathy
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  • Karun Roy

    Student at School of Legal Studies, CUSAT, India

  • Parvathy Girish

    Student at School of Legal Studies, CUSAT, India

  • R.Gowri Parvathy

    Student at Bharata Mata School of Legal Studies, India

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Medical negligence has nowadays become one of the serious issues in India. Our experience tells us that medical profession is one of the noblest professions. Patients usually see the doctors as God as it is them who are going to treat their illness, health issues and in the end they will be cured and healed by them and we at least expect them to be careful while discharging their duties toward their patients. Courts, particularly the Indian Supreme Court, have often tilted the balance in favour of the patient and his family. This may have serious impact on the morale of the medical profession, as well as the quality of healthcare, provided to the citizen. The paper seeks to analyse the liability of medical professionals, and practice on medical negligence in India, by studying the judicial pronouncements by the courts of record. However, with time, we can see the emergence of medical liability under various aspects of law like under the Consumer Protection law. Judiciary treated it more of a civil wrong than a crime with a reluctance to implicate physicians with any reckless behaviour or for deviation from the normal practice standards because of an underlying presumption that a sensible practitioner on good faith intends to extend best possible care and intends to cure. The evolution of common law on professional negligence dates back to the landmark case of Donoghue v. Stevenson. Medical negligence is a subset of professional negligence, requiring an additional perspective through the Bolam’s test which was accepted and reiterated in the landmark judgment of Jacob Mathew v. State of Punjab and as put by Bingham L.J. could mean that, “professional man should command the corpus of knowledge which forms part of the professional equipment of the ordinary member of his profession. He should not lag behind other ordinary assiduous and intelligent members of his profession in knowledge of new advances, discoveries and developments in his field. The law does not prescribe the limits of high standards that can be adopted but only the minimum standard below which the patients cannot be dealt with. Judicial forums have also signalled an increased need of the doctors to engage with the patients during treatment, especially when the line of treatment is contested, has serious side effects and alternative treatments exist. Study of decided cases of medical negligence can provide an insight into the reasons for medical negligence cases, factors mainly responsible for medical negligence and impact of doctor-patient relationship, etc. This paper extensively deals with the basic aspect of medical negligence and as well reiterates the remedies provided under Indian law for the same.


Research Paper


International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 4, Issue 3, Page 4224 - 4236


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