Criminal code tabled in NA

Kathmandu, August 14

Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal today tabled the New Criminal Code Act, which proposes tougher penalties for criminal negligence in the treatment of a patient, in National Assembly, today.

Speaking in the National Assembly, Minister Dhakal said necessary discussion will be conducted on the provision of New Criminal Code Act regarding the penalties for negligent doctors. He said the government was ready to hold talks on the issue and look for necessary solution.

Meanwhile, officials of Nepal Medical Association met Attorney General Agni Prasad Kharel and Minister of Health and Population Upendra Yadav today to discuss amendment to the Criminal Code Act.

Dhundi Raj Paudel, senior vice-president of NMA, said both attorney general and health minister had expressed their concern about the penalties for negligence in the treatment of patients. “They said the provision should be amended and doctors should not be restricted from carrying out their duties.” Paudel said, “The act treats all medical doctors as criminals. If the act is implemented as it is, we will hand over our licence to Nepal Medical Council.”

Section 232 of the act proposes to impose jail sentence not exceeding five years and a fine not exceeding Rs 50,000 on a doctor, if s/he is found to have caused death or maimed a patient by reckless acts during the course of treatment.

Section 232 adds that if a doctor causes death or maims a patient by negligent acts, then s/he will face a jail sentence not exceeding three years and a fine not exceeding Rs 30,000. These penalties are tougher than the provisions of the General Code. Section 8 of General Code stipulates that in case a doctor treats a patient with recklessness or negligence and consequently the patient dies or suffers any damage, loss or pain, the doctor concerned shall be liable to pay a fine of up to Rs 500 or jail term not exceeding two years, or both.