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What a Medical Doctors Should Know

Who can file a complaint?

A consumer or any recognized consumer association, i.e., voluntary consumer association registered under the Companies Act, 1956 or any other law for the time being in force, whether the consumer is a member of such association or not, or the central or state government.

Who is a consumer?

A consumer is a person who hires or avails of any services for a consideration that has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised or under any system of deferred payment and includes any beneficiary of such services other than the person hires or avails of the services for consideration paid or promised, or under any system of deferred payment, when such services are availed of with the approval of the first mentioned person. This definition is wide enough to include a patient who merely promises to pay.

What is a complaint? A complaint is an allegation in writing made by a Complainant, i.e., a consumer that he or she has suffered loss or damage as a result of any deficiency of service.

What is deficiency of service?

Deficiency of service means any fault, imperfection, shortcoming, or inadequacy in the quality, nature, or manner of performance that is required to be maintained by or under any law for the time being in force or has been undertaken to be performed by a person in pursuance of a contract or otherwise in relation to any service.

Where is a complaint filed?

1. A complaint can be filed in the District Forum if the value of services and compensation claimed is less than 20 lakh rupees.
2. Before the State Commission, if the value of the goods or services and the compensation claimed does not exceed more than 1 crore rupees.
3. In the National Commission, if the value of the goods or services and the compensation exceeds more than 1 crore rupees.

What is the cost involved in filing a complaint?

There is a minimal fee for filing a complaint before the district consumer redressal forums.

Is there any provision for appeal?

Appeal against the decision of the District Forum can be filed before the State Commission. An appeal will then go from the State Commission to the National Commission and from the National Commission to the Supreme Court. The time limit within which the appeal should be filed is 30 days from the date of the decision in all cases.


Litigation against Doctors is not a new problem, but this problem has gained lot of prominence. Doctors, in general, are very sensitive people and the nature of their job makes them very vulnerable to litigation. After the landmark judgement of the Supreme Court in the case titled I.M.A Vs V.P Shanta in 1995, the number of cases has increased very fast and in many cases the courts have awarded hefty compensation against the doctors. The following are few common reasons behind the increasing number of such cases.
• Increasing awareness of consumer rights at very large
• Inter personal (Doctor – patient) Relation
• Inter Personal Rivalry
• Misleading by the materialistic society, etc


Medical Negligence is the breach of the duty owed by the doctor towards the patient to exercise reasonable degree of care and skill which results in some physical, mental & financial disability or loss. Hence it is the civil or criminal mistake (error) arising out of the contract between doctor and patient relationship. As per Charles worth ‘negligence is a tort which involves a person breach of duty that is imposed upon him to take care resulting in damage to the complainant’

Complaint against Whom ?

• All the Medical Practitioners
• All Private or Trust Hospitals, Nursing Homes and Polyclinics
• All Government Hospitals And Doctors, if charged.
• All Laboratories, Blood Banks, X - ray clinic and Diagnostic Centres

Complaint against Not?

• Where free service is provided to all patients
• Where token registration charge is being taken
• Even the donation would not constitute fee
• Not against the heirs of the doctors