A major victory for all consumers and victims of “medical negligence” was achieved today (Feb. 24) in the Supreme Court as the “Contempt” petition filed by PBT against National Consumer Forum (NCDRC) was disposed of by the division bench of Justices Mr. T.S. Thakur and Mr. C. Nagappan (SC Contempt Petition No. 158/2002; People for Better Treatment vs. H.D. Nautiyal, Registrar, NCDRC) with specific observations that from now on, non-advocates and humanitarian organizations like PBT would be able to represent victims of medical negligence and other victims of deceptive trade practice in NCDRC and other Consumer Courts across India. New specific guidelines for accreditation of non-advocate/representative/NGO who may represent justice-seekers in the Consumer Courts have been posted on the “Consumer Affairs Ministry” website at (see below)
PBT filed this “Contempt” petition in 2012 after NCDRC remained silent even after the Apex Court passed a judgment in 2011 to frame new guidelines allowing benevolent social organizations and non-advocates to represent consumers including victims of medical negligence. As a result of our “Contempt” petition, NCDRC has framed new guidelines now as it becomes law from 17th February, 2014 with its publication in government’s official Gazette.
Many victims of “medical negligence” are victimized for a second time by unscrupulous lawyers who deliberately stalls the process of justice only to extract more money from the victim or even worse, surreptitiously join hands with the accused doctor/hospital in order to deny justice. Many competent volunteers in PBT will now be accredited by NCDRC and be able to help hapless victims of “medical negligence” find justice in the court of law. PBT president, Kunal Saha, a medical doctor based in USA who has personally appeared to argue many important public interest litigations (PILs) as well as personal cases in High Courts and Supreme Court including the recent case for his wife’s wrongful death in which Apex Court has awarded highest compensation (Rs. 11.5 crore) for “medical negligence”, has expressed that he would also get accredited himself from NCDRC now to help other victims of alleged “medical negligence” by appearing on their behalf in Consumer Courts in India.