On Wednesday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah informed the Lok Sabha that the amended criminal law bill would protect medical professionals from criminal prosecution in cases of deaths due to medical negligence by reducing the punishment from five years of imprisonment to two years of imprisonment. The bill was passed in Lok Sabha on Wednesday after a voice vote in the absence of 97 opposition MPs who have been suspended for "misconduct" for the remainder of the winter session. The opposition has been demanding a statement from Union Home Minister Amit Shah on the December 13 Parliament security breach.
On introducing these amendments, Amit Shah said, "Currently, if there is a death due to the negligence of a doctor, it is also treated as criminal negligence, almost akin to murder. Hence, I will bring an official amendment now to free the doctors from this criminal negligence."
The Union Home Minister said the amendments were introduced after the Indian Medical Association (IMA) "requested us to look into the matter." "And hence, we have decided to free the doctors from the culpability of criminal negligence," Amit Shah said.
Currently, under colonial-era criminal laws, medical negligence resulting in deaths would invite punishment "for a term which may extend to two years, or with a fine, or with both" under Section 304 A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The IPC amendments now relieve doctors from any criminal proceedings for medical negligence.
On December 21, 2023, Lok Sabha passed the Bharatiya Nyaya (Second) Sanhita, 2023; the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita, 2023; and the Bharatiya Sakshya (Second) Bill, 2023.
Amit Shah said the new criminal law bills, being brought in place of three old laws, have been crafted based on the three fundamental principles of our Constitution: freedom of the individual, human rights, and the principle of equal treatment for all. The new criminal law bill also proposes life imprisonment or the death penalty for mob lynching.
(Input from various media sources)