The Forum for Protection of Consumer Rights has filed a writ petition at the Supreme Court (SC) against the agreement reached between the government and Nepal Medical Association (NMA) regarding amendments to provisions of the newly enforced Criminal Code.
The NMA had reached an agreement with the government representatives headed by State Minister for Health and Population DrSurendra Kumar Yadav on September 3 to amend the Criminal Code provisions relating to medical negligence and recklessness by doctors.
The writ petition filed by Advocate Bishnu Prasad Timilsina on behalf of the Consumer Rights Protection Forumhas argued that the agreement reached between the government and the agitating doctors is against the constitutional provisions and guaranteed rights including right to live with dignity, access to quality medical treatment, right to information regarding medical treatment, and rights of the victim of a crime among others.
The petitioner has also claimed that the government, by forging an agreement with the NMA, has surrendered the health sector to the medical mafia while putting the general public’s health in harm’s way.
The writ petition has demanded that the agreement forged between the government and NMA should be scrapped as it is unlawful, anti-constitutional and against the rights of consumers.
The petition has also demanded that anyone who enforces strike in medical sector including hospitals, and pharmacies, among other health care centers, should be booked under the existing Criminal Code.
Nepal Medical Association, Ministry of Health and Population, State Minister for Health Surendra Kumar Yadav, Nepal Medical Council, Department of Health Service, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Home Ministry, District Administration Office, Kathmandu, and Prime Minister's Office have been made defendants in the writ.
Meanwhile, NMA President DrMukti Ram Shrestha,following the agreement with the government,had warned of shutting all non-emergency medical services across the country if the government failed to amend the provisions within the agreed deadline.
In the five-point agreement, the government has pledged to amend Sub-clause 2 of Clause 230 that allows non-licensed medical professionals to treat patients.
The NMA has demanded revision to the provision to suit the changed context where doctors and health workers are available across Nepal. According to the agitating doctors, the existing provisions would put the lives of patients at risk if they were treated by non-licensed medical professionals.