Death due to doctor's negligence is an accident says National Consumer Forum

According to NCDRC ruling, the insured died during an operation by the treating doctors and the injury to the insured was an accident, therefore the insurance company is liable to pay accidental death benefits to the heirs

New Delhi: Death of a patient due to rash or negligent act of a doctor is an accident, making the victim entitled to the accidental death benefits from his or her insurer, the country's apex consumer panel has held, reports PTI.

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (NCDRC) gave the ruling while ordering the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India to pay the accidental death benefits to the husband of the insured, who had died while being operated upon.

"The life assured (the insured) died during an operation by the treating doctors. Thus, the injury to the life assured was an accident caused by outward, violent and visible means and therefore, the LIC of India cannot be absolved from its liability to pay the accidental benefits to the complainant," the NCDRC said.

The LIC had denied the accidental benefits to Haryana resident Narender Singh, the husband of the insured, saying his wife's death during the surgery was not an accident.

It had also contended that the doctors were not negligent or rash as they had performed the surgery fairly without any ill-intention or mens rea.

The bench presided by Justice JM Malik rejected the contentions as "devoid of force" and pointed out that "a criminal case under section 304-A (of Indian Penal Code) is pending against the doctors. A criminal case crops up by a negligent and rash act. Mens rea is not required."

It also observed "the negligence and rashness" as well as deficiency of service of the doctors was evident from the fact that no anaesthetist was present during the surgery.

"Without calling the anaesthetist, the doctors should not have treated the patient at all. This itself speaks deficiency in service on the part of the doctors as well as negligence and rashness," the NCDRC said.

The apex consumer commission gave its judgement while dismissing LIC's plea challenging an order of the Haryana State Consumer Commission which had upheld the verdict of the District consumer forum.

The district forum had held the death of the insured during the surgery was an accident and had directed the PSU to pay the accidental death benefits to her husband.

The district forum's order had come on the complaint of Narender Singh, who had alleged his wife had died due to wrong treatment by the doctors who were performing the surgery.

Singh had said his wife was admitted for surgery as she was suffering from blockage of her fallopian tubes and was having trouble conceiving.

He had said he had bought a life insurance policy from LIC for an assured amount of Rs50,000 and also having accidental death benefits.

Singh had alleged when he filed his claim, the LIC only paid the assured amount and denied the accidental death benefits.


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Midas Touch PIL on small investor's “blocked money” postponed to 29th August

Hearing of the petition was postponed to 29th August due to lawyer's strike. The PIL filed by Midas Touch alleges that SEBI has not taken any action against companies which do not follow listing norms

Around one crore small investors will have to wait till 29 August 2012 to know the future of their locked investment as the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Midas Touch Investors’ Association (MTIA) in the Delhi High Court was adjourned on Thursday.


“The petition came up for hearing today before the bench of acting chief justice AK Sikri and justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw but it was adjourned without hearing due to the lawyers strike, said Virendra Jain, president of MTIA.


The PIL alleged that market regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has not taken any action against thousands of companies that failed to comply with the terms of listing agreement. “Trading in most of these companies has been suspended and investors’ hard earned money worth over Rs1 lakh crore is blocked, and perhaps gone down the drain, with all its ramifications on the health of the securities market,” the petition said.


According to the PIL, there are 1,845 companies on the BSE that have failed to comply with the listing agreement. The number of such companies on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) is 203.


Market regulator SEBI is empowered to impose a penalty of Rs25 crore on these companies under the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act, however, there is no action yet.


Both BSE and NSE submitted detailed information of these companies to SEBI. The market regulator appointed a committee for suggesting action against these companies. However, despite receiving the committee’s report, SEBI has not taken any action against the defaulting entities, the PIL alleged.


The petition also requested the HC to direct SEBI to frame regulations for protecting investor interest and also implement an action plan for effective monitoring companies, which were listed on stock exchanges at Hyderabad, Magadh and Saurashtra which are now de-recognised.


Both BSE and NSE have also been made respondents in the petition by MTIA.




5 years ago

This is one of the millions of court cases pending in several courts in India. Such delays make people who make laws and ‘play with rules’ more and more courageous. Starting with one case in which some audit employees’ promotions were involved which started in 1957(Kerala) and a ‘favourable’ decision came from the Apex Court in the late 1960’s, by when the petitioners had retired from service to a pension case which is pending before the Mumbai High Court since the early years of last decade, I have seen that ‘law takes its course’ and by the time a decision comes, it is like LIC money(if you survive to collect maturity proceeds, it is not worth collecting!).

P M Ravindran

5 years ago

I am reading this only on 30 Sep 2012. So first I want to know is what is the latest on this?

Since it is said better late than never, this report also necessitates the comment- isn't SEBI just required to implement the law as laid down? What is this dilly dallying with committees and such absurdities?

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