The case of Jacob Mathew vs state of Punjab is an important
judgment on the point of negligence by a doctor the principals has been given on
this point the story of this case in short is that late jeevan lal Sharma father
of the informant who was admitted as a patient in the private ward of CMC
hospital Ludhiana on 22/2/95 at above 11 pm he felt difficulty in breathing.
Informants elder brother Vijay Sharma was present there and he contacted the
duty nurse of room. The elder brother of informant asked her to call doctor to
attend the patient but no doctor turned up for about 20-25 min. Thereafter
Doctor Jacob Mathew and Dr. Allen joseph came to the room of the patient.
Oxygen cylinder was connected to the mouth of the patient but the breathing
problem increase further. Jeevan lal tried to get up but the medical staff asked
him to remain in the bed. it was found that the cylinder was empty and no other
gas cylinder was available in the room. Vijay Sharma went to the adjoining room
and brought a gas cylinder and therefrom. There was no arrangement to make the
gas cylinder functional and in between five to seven minutes were wasted.
thus time and another doctor came there who declare that the patient was died.
It has been further stated in the fir that the death of informant father was
occurred due to the carelessness of doctor and nurses and non-availability of
oxygen cylinder. The empty cylinder was fix in the mouth if unformat cylinder
and his breathing was totally stopping and he died. The informant sent the dead
body to his village for last cremation and gave statement of the death of Jeevan
lal Sharma due to carelessness of doctor and nurses concerned.
On the basis of statement, a case under section 304A/34 IPC was registered and
after investigation challan was filled against the two doctors.
Charge was framed under section 304A IPC against the two doctors by the judicial
magistrate fist class Ludhiana. Both the accused person filed revision petition
against the order of framing of charge before the learned session judge which
Thereafter the accused persons move the Hon'ble High court under
section 482 of the code of criminal procedure with a prayer to quash the FIR and
all subsequent proceeding.
The Hon'ble judge of Hon'ble high court disposed of
the petition vide order dated on 18/12/2002. And formed an opinion that the plea
raised by appellant was available to the urged in defense at the stage of trial.
Thereafter an application for recalling the above order was moved which was also
dismissed on 24/01/2003.
The appellant moved the Hon'ble supreme court against the order of the Hon'ble
high court. The plea of appellant was the deceased Jeevan lal suffering from
cancer in an advanced stage and as per information available he was not been
admitted by any hospital in the country because he is being a case of cancer at
terminal stage. According to appellant he’s so s are influential persons
occupying important position in government and on their request Jeevan lal was
admitted. the hospital regulated the proper treatment and management of diet.
According to being informant lodged the case after the using their influence
which is on warranted and uncalled for.
The matter came up before the Honorable Supreme Court comprising of two Hon'ble
judges. The Hon'ble judges placed reliance on a recent two judge bench decision
of the Supreme Court in Dr. Suresh Gupta VS. Government of NCT of Delhi9, the
Hon'ble judges doubted the correction of the view taken in that case and vide
order dated 09/09/2004 expressed the opinion that the matter called for
consideration by a bench of three judges then the case come up for hearing
before a bench of three judges.
The bench considered the matter in the light of several decisions of the Hon'ble
supreme court on this point.
Title of the Case: Jacob Mathew v. State of Punjab
Bench:CJI R.C. Lahoti, G.P. Mathur & P.K. Balasubramanyan
Citation: AIR2005SC3180; (2005)6SCC1; 2005CriLJ3710
Date of Judgment: 05-08-2005
The list of considered cases is given below:
- Petitioner-Dr. Jacob Mathew
- Respondent-State of Punjab
- Andrew Vs. Director of Public Prosecutions
- Syed Akbar Vs. State of Karnataka
- Bhalchandra Waman Pathe Vs. State of Maharashtra
The honorable Supreme Court decided the appeal on the ground that the complaint
has not alleged that the accused persons were not qualified doctor to treat the
patient whom the complaint agrees to treat. There is allegation about none
availability of oxygen cylinder.
Due to hospital management gas cylinder was not
available or the oxygen gas cylinder found empty. Hence, the hospital may be
liable in civil law. The doctors (appellant) cannot be held guilty of the
offense u/s 304A IPC hence, the honorable Supreme Court allows the appeals and
quest the prosecution proceeded u/s 304A / 34 IPC.