On Monday, January 29, the Supreme Court granted relief to the 84-year-old man by directing the doctor to pay him compensation amounting to Rs. 2 lakhs in a medical negligence case.
The complainant, P. C. Jain, has registered a consumer complaint against the doctor after he lost vision in his left eye due to the medical negligence committed by Dr. R.P. Singh during a surgical procedure in 2002–2003.
The Supreme Court observed that the patient has been contesting this long-drawn-out litigation for a rightful claim of compensation for more than 20 years.
The National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (NCDRC) allowed the award of compensation to the patient after a round of litigation before the various consumer forums.
The complainant had preferred an appeal before the Supreme Court for the release of the compensation amount against the ex-parte order of the NCDRC, which recorded that the complainant had received the compensation amount.
However, as per the version of the patient, he hadn't received a single penny of the compensation amount from the doctor, and the doctor misrepresented the NCDRC to pass such an order.
The Bench of Justices B.R. Gavai and Sandeep Mehta, after noting that the complainant has not received a single penny towards compensation for the loss of vision suffered by him owing to the medical negligence committed by the respondent doctor, directed the doctor to pay the compensation of Rs. 2 lakh with an interest rate of 12% per annum to the complainant within two months, failing which the interest shall be enhanced to 15% per annum.
The Ethics Committee of the Medical Council of India (MCI) also held that the doctor violated of the Professional Misconduct, Etiquette, and Ethics Regulation, 2012. MCI recommended the removal of his name from the Indian Medical Register for six months.
“In wake of the discussion made hereinabove, we modify the orders passed by the NCDRC and direct that the appellant, P.C. Jain, shall be entitled to receive compensation of Rs. 2 lakhs only with interest at 12% per annum from the respondent, Dr. R.P. Singh, with effect from the date of filing of the complaint until actual payment is made.”
The court observed, “The review petition filed by Dr. R.P. Singh was allowed ex parte by the NCDRC in a totally cavalier fashion without putting the complainant to notice”.
The court also charged a cost of Rs. 50,000 to the doctor for making a false representation that the amount of compensation had been paid to the complainant. The cost has to be paid to the complainant.
The court eventually allowed the civil appeal of the complainant's patient.
(Input from various sources)