NHRC hears cases of medical negligence, orders compensation

Mumbai: For the first time, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) here today heard around 80 complaints of medical negligence against private and government hospitals and also ordered compensation in some of them.

“Of the 110 cases shortlisted to be heard, 80 cases were heard by all the three benches led by honourable chairpersons of Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat human rights commissions,” event convener and Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA) member Dr Leni Chaudhari said.

“Time-bound compensation orders were also granted by the chairpersons in seven cases on the spot today,” she said.

The two-day hearing began at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) at Deonar here.

Acting NHRC chairperson Justice Cyriac Joseph presided over the hearings, while the chairpersons of human rights panel of Maharashtra Justice S R Bannurmath, Rajasthan Human Right Commission’s chairperson Justice S C Sinha and Gujarat Human Rights Commission chairperson Justice Murugesan heard the cases and passed orders on the spot.

In his inaugural speech, Justice Joseph lauded the efforts of NGOs and said, “These (NGOs) are the eyes and ears of NHRC in upholding patients’ rights.”

Terming it as “most unforgettable day in the history of human rights”, advocate Kamayani Mahabal, another senior associate of JSA which had organised the hearing, said it would pave way for protection of human rights in future.

JSA is the Indian circle of People’s Health Movement, a worldwide movement to establish health as a human right carried out by the civil society organisations.

NHRC has planned to hear a total of 110 cases of medical negligence from Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan.

“This was the first time when the victims of medical negligence, who earlier ran from pillar to post in the hope of justice, finally found it at our doors,” said Dr Chaudhari.