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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 442-444

Menace of violence against doctors—Its possible solutions

Department of Medicine, King George’s Medical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Date of Submission21-Jun-2022
Date of Acceptance27-Jun-2022
Date of Web Publication29-Sep-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Harish Gupta
Department of Medicine, King George’s Medical University, Shah Mina Rd, Chowk, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh 226003
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mgmj.mgmj_86_22

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How to cite this article:
Gupta H. Menace of violence against doctors—Its possible solutions. MGM J Med Sci 2022;9:442-4

How to cite this URL:
Gupta H. Menace of violence against doctors—Its possible solutions. MGM J Med Sci [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Feb 6];9:442-4. Available from: http://www.mgmjms.com/text.asp?2022/9/3/442/357491

“Protect #healthworkers from violence in the workplace, Improve the #mentalhealth & psychological well-being of health workers, Protect health workers from physical & biological hazards”—World Health Organization, Sep 17, 2020[1]

Dear Editor,

Kumar and Ramanathan wrote an Editorial entitled, “Doctors’ suicide and the vulnerability of medical profession,” published on June 17, 2022 in this Journal. They discussed various events surrounding an obstetrician’s, Dr. Archana Sharma, suicide case who committed the act on March 30 this year at Lalsot, Dausa City, Rajasthan. Therein they wrote that despite the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s direction that doctors should not be arrested on account of negligence (alone), the police still take the law into their (own) hands and file a First Information Report (FIR) for murder and harass the doctors.[2]

However, I believe that this is too simple and superficial an explanation of the case. When we go deeper, we discover several layers of complexity that need to be dissected with the utmost skill to draw a few lessons and I put forward my arguments in support of this statement. The police do not take the law into their hands (alone); rather at several times a few among them become law-unto-themselves. In this particular incidence, an angle of extortion of money from the doctor couple also emerged, and later arrests were made under these charges.[3] Hence not only the fear of arrest to the (now deceased) doctor and resultant social ostracization/loss of reputation was there, or deliberately made, but also a component of extracting huge sum of money was created from such hard-working people serving the society. The incident sketches the way rogue policemen, political parties, and local goons in the robe of leaders coalesce/join hands/conspire together/hatch deception/make a web and harass an innocent person who knows nothing else but medical science so much that she finds no other escape route but death.

But if we want to find a solution, we need to look still deeper to fully comprehend the rot. Rather than talking about the victim (which the authors did in the article), let us talk about the culprits and their modus operandi. No policeman in this country can act of his own volition as per service rules. He has to follow the commands of his superiors and that job includes seeking directions/instructions and providing feedback to and from his bosses while registering an FIR and afterward. Hence, a pertinent question to be raised is what was happening in the loop when he went ahead to lodge the false case resulting in a chain of events that culminated in the loss of a bright life suddenly disappearing into the darkness. When a government servant goes rogue, we have several checks and balances in place to stop the abuse of power. Where did the control key go, and what caused its dysfunction, should be investigated.

These steps include inter alia initiating a departmental inquiry,[4],[5] making adverse entries in one’s Annual Confidential Report (ACR),[6],[7] denying promotion, issuing notices, compulsory retirement, suspension, termination, and arrest. Hence when nothing of this sort of action is made in such affairs, that circumstances only embolden such nasty/hazardous/unscrupulous elements and they become more and more daring—sometimes leading to attempts to harass those who run the society by their earnings and taxes levied on them. When high-ranking public officers let such elements lose in the society resulting in havoc, I presume that more responsibility lies at their doorstep rather than anywhere else. Those who pull the strings, run the show, and low-ranking officers get the clues by their indications. No one escapes from one’s responsibilities, but some are more accountable than others.

It should be inquired when such FIR is lodged, how many, or how much percentage of the cases result in a conviction. And when the accused is set free by a Court of Law (which may take years or sometimes decades), in how much percentage of the cases do the policemen and their superiors face the music who registered a bogus FIR in the first place—perhaps even when they knew its all the facts. If their superiors do not take any action post facto such an acquittal, are they complicit by an act of omission or simply look the other way, should be the poser? If we start extracting such data in digital India, the correct message may be sent to them.

When the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India pronounces an order, by article 141 of the Constitution, that becomes the law of the land. Therefore, when someone violates a law, how the courts take their initial steps should be carefully looked into. If we want to stop such incidents in the future, there is an ample opportunity to open all the relevant records and find the nexus of the nuisance-creators who make crimes against humanity to fulfill their vested interests. The misuse of law is a grave and unfortunately frequent concern of our times and batters those who get caught in its labyrinth unknowingly. Hence, we’d demand that such officers should be discovered quickly, face a departmental inquiry, be denied promotion, get an adverse ACR entry in their service book, and face other legal penalties in a limited time frame. A doctor in her lifetime contacts/assures/treats/empathizes with/operates upon, and thus decides the fate of thousands or tens of thousands of patients and their families, and harassing her to death should lead to a discussion about the perpetrators who misuse machinery of the State to fulfill their ulterior motives.

It is also mentioned that few local leaders were there in the melee initially to extort money from the doctor. So, the time has come for political parties to throw such so-called leaders out of the party. We’d also question how did they join the party in the first place/what was their criminal background and if they committed similar acts in the past. Doctors’ associations should make a declaration that otherwise they will boycott such parties. People usually commit crimes because it pays. Hence, one way of stopping such crimes is to make them too costly to commit. When a doctor can be disciplined by a code of our regulatory bodies, what stops the political parties to do so, I wonder. If they act only after an uproar (as in this case) and then go to their business-as-usual mode, the way forward is to devise a method to force them to follow a rulebook day in and day out. Furthermore, the voice should be raised in the legislature to make a different law to handle such sort of terrorism.[8]

The woman doctor is no more in this world but various associations, professional bodies, organizations, non-government organizations, and later on even the government voiced their concerns in her support.[9] If we can nip in the bud any such attempt by any policeman–politician nexus in the future, that will be our homage in her memory. If the lady, the doctor, would have known that the law would not be misused and the guilty would be punished, she would not have taken such a drastic/extreme step. We must make a world where an innocent valuable professional—achieving that consumes one’s entire youth to get adequate training and experience—is not harassed and the guilty are not spared. Moving toward that goal requires that we’d make a promise to ourselves never to remain silent when one of us faces such barbarism. If that dream does not come to fruition, it will be our collective failure.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

World Health Organization (WHO) on Twitter. Posted on 17 September 2020. Available from: https://twitter.com/WHO/status/1306501266936299522?s=20&t=xUWQKW8BDwPeP6CT9-uOaA. [Last accessed on 20 Jun 2022].  Back to cited text no. 1
Kumar S, Ramanathan V Doctors’ suicide and the vulnerability of medical profession. MGM J Med Sci 2022;9:133-4.  Back to cited text no. 2
Medical Dialogue. Dr Archana Sharma suicide case: Husband of patient, brother-in-law arrested. Published and updated on 14 May 2022. Available from: https://medicaldialogues.in/news/health/doctors/dr-archana-sharma-suicide-case-husband-of-patient-brother-in-law-arrested-92917?infinitescroll=1. [Last accessed on 20 Jun 2022].  Back to cited text no. 3
Supreme Court Cases Online Blog. A police constable was acquitted in a murder case but dismissed from service after a related disciplinary inquiry. Read why SC upheld the dismissal; 2020. Available from: https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/2020/10/30/police-constable-acquitted-in-a-murder-case-but-dismissed-from-service-after-a-related-disciplinary-enquiry-read-why-sc-upheld-the-dismissal/. [Last accessed on 20 Jun 2022].  Back to cited text no. 4
Department of Personnel and Training. Hand book for inquiry officers and disciplinary authorities; 2013. Available from: https://dopt.gov.in/reports/hand-book/hand-book-inquiry-officers-and-disciplinary-authorities-2013. [Last accessed on 20 Jun 2022].  Back to cited text no. 5
Supreme Court Cases Online Blog. MACP benefits are allowed upon non-communication of ACR gradation; 2018. Available from: https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/tag/annual-confidential-report/. [Last accessed on 20 Jun 2022].  Back to cited text no. 6
Law Web. Leading judgment of the Supreme Court on the annual confidential report of a government servant; 2018. Available from: https://www.lawweb.in/2018/04/supreme-court-every-entry-in-acr-poor.html. [Last accessed on 20 Jun 2022].  Back to cited text no. 7
PTI. Lok Sabha members flag suicide by Rajasthan doctor. Times of India; 2022. Available from: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/lok-sabha-members-flag-suicide-by-rajasthan-doctor/articleshow/90564093.cms. [Last accessed on 20 Jun 2022].  Back to cited text no. 8
Agrawal S World Medical Association writes to PM Modi on Dr Archana Sharma’s suicide. India Today; 2022. Available from: https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/world-medical-association-writes-to-pm-modi-on-archana-sharma-s-suicide-1935317-2022-04-09. [Last accessed on 20 Jun 2022].  Back to cited text no. 9


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