( By Dr. Jagdish Singh )

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I have glanced through the pages of the book "Medical Profession and Consumer Protection Act" by Dr. Jagdish Singh and am amazed at the fact that a doctor has such a clear understanding of the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act.

There is no denying the fact that no citizen of the country, be that an Engineer, an Architect, an Advocate or for that matter a Doctor,or even a Judge or the Prime Minister , is above the law of the land.All the professionals are already liable for scrutiny of their work under the existing laws.

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has observed in the case of Cosmopolitan Hospitals Pvt.Ltd. v Vasantha P. Nair, etc. [ I (1992) CPJ 302 (NC)], that : "There is no provision in the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 for the protection of the interests of the persons who may have suffered on account of negligence or deficiency in the service rendered by the medical profession. The field left open by the said Act is covered by the Law of Tort in general and by the Consumer Protection Act in particular.

The C.P. Act provides for a machinery which aims at dispensing speed and inexpensive justice.

This book is a commendable attempt of the author in providing to doctors all that which they need to know about their rights,duties and legal obligations. It aims at creating awareness in them to make them more alert in discharging their duties and thereby safeguarding their interests.

I recommend the book to every doctor which he should not only read but keep it as a permanent book of reference.

Member, State Commission,
Consumer Protection,
Jaipur, Nov. 19, 1993R Damodar Thanvi

Application of the Consumer Protection Act to Medical Professionals in India, as it exists today reminds me of what Lord Denning has said in his book "The Discipline of Law " about the situation in U.S.A. :

‘Medical malpractice suits there have become the curse of the medical profession. The legal profession get contingency fees. So they take up cases on speculation. The jury gives enormous damages. Insurance premiums are high. The doctors charge fees to cover them. It is all very worrying."

My fears are of a similar situation developing in our country, unless this Act is modified to make it more balanced for doctors.

There has been a long-felt need for a simple documentation related with "Medical Profession and Consumer Protection Act".It is very difficult for Medical colleagues to go through minute details of the Act, because of being very busy with patient -care but at the same time clear concept of the provisions of the said Act as also other legal provisions , Medical Ethics, etc. relating to the Medical Profession are necessary for the general practitioners as well as specialists, which have been comprehensively covered in this publication.

I congratulate the author for the venture of bringing out this compilation in a very simple and easily understandable way and in a concise manner. I am sure this book will be welcomed by the Medical fraternity and will render benefit to them by providing ready help in taking possible care while handling complicated and crucial issues encountered by them during their practice.

Prof. & Head., Dept. of Pediatric Medicine,
SPMCHIJ,S.M.S. Medical College, Dr.( Mrs.) Usha Sharma
Hon. Consultant, ICSD, Govt. of India & M.D. D.C.H.
Chairperson, 21st Rajasthan Pediatric Conference
Jaipur, Nov. 16, 1993.

Accountability in Medical Practice has existed since ancient times.With changing values, materialism and technological advancement there is a perceptible dilution in this accountability.The Medical Professionals must face the truth. The prime object of the Medical Profession is to render service to humanity ; reward in the shape of financial gain is a subordinate consideration.

A sense that he may be called upon to explain his acts and omissions brings in alertness and creates restraints in a person. If this is lost the society runs the risk of erosion in values and norms.The Consumer Protection Act has been brought into force to eradicate the feeling of immunity from accountability. But at the same time the application of the said Act to doctors has created terror in their minds because of the feeling that there would be a spurt in false and harassment-oriented complaints thereby diverting them from their prime duty.

Most of these fears are a direct result of lack of proper knowledge of the provisions of the Act and the exact nature of their duties and obligations as a doctor. I congratulate Dr. Jagdish Singh for gathering all relevant information on these aspects and presenting it in a form which would be easily understood by the Medical Professionals. This would certainly help in allaying their fears.

I strongly recommend that every doctor should read this book so as to keep himself well informed.

Professor & Unit Head, Dept. of Pediatrics
SPMCHI, S.M.S. Medical College,
Jaipur, Nov. 18, 1993.

Dr. S.P. Sudhrania

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