Improper touching of woman patient by doctor an offence: HC

New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) The Delhi High Court has held that sexual advances or touching of private parts of a patient by a doctor during clinical examination are grave breach of trust and unacceptable.

Justice G.P. Mittal said: “A physician, being in a position of trust and power, has a duty to act in the patient’s best interest. To maintain trust, a physician must avoid making sexual advances.”

“Sexual advances or inappropriate touching of a patient by a medical practitioner is a grave breach of trust and an offence under Section 354 IPC of gravest form. Such a conduct from a medical practitioner is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated.”

Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code deals with assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty.

The court’s observation came while dismissing a plea of homoeopathic doctor Madan Mohan, who was awarded 18 months jail term for touching the private parts of a girl who had gone to seek medical help for insomnia, headache and skin disease May 23, 2007.

The judge said that parliament had recently amended the penal provision and made it non-bailable and hence the award of jail term of 18 months to the doctor cannot be said to be “disproportionate”.

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