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Doctors to face penal action for failing to certify Covid deaths, Centre tells SC

Doctors to face penal action for failing to certify Covid deaths, Centre tells SC

New Delhi: Any death resulting from Covid-19 infection, irrespective of co-morbidities, are to be certified as Covid death, failing which the certifying doctor will face penal action, the Centre has told the Supreme Court

The Ministry of Home Affairs, in an affidavit, said: "It is mandated that any death resulting from Covid-19 must have to be so certified that is, as Covid death, failing which everyone responsible, including the certifying doctor, will be responsible for penal consequences."

It submitted, that for the recording of Covid-19 deaths, that there is a statutory mechanism in place either by way of an Act of Parliament or guidelines having the force of mandate and the law.

Any breach of the guidelines mentioned here under would be a criminal offence as stipulated under Section 188 of the IPC, it said.

Noting that broad guidelines for recording of Covid-19 related deaths in India were prepared by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), it said: "The guidelines clearly state Covid-positive deaths implicate deaths related to the infection. These guidelines are in sync with the WHO Mortality Coding."

The affidavit also said under the provisions of Section 10 of the RBD Act, the information related to the cause of death is filled up by the medical practitioner attending to the deceased at the time of terminal illness.

"The medical practitioner should after the death of the person issue a certificate as to the cause of death in prescribed forms stating to the best of his knowledge and belief the cause of death. This cause of death certificate is sent to the Registrar along with death reporting form on the basis of which the Registrar makes necessary entries related to cause of death in the register of death, at the time of registration of death event," the affidavit said.

"Accordingly, the cause of death cannot be disclosed by the Registrar to any person, hence the extract/death certificate does not include any information related to the cause of death of an individual, it is therefore most respectfully said the death certificate does not show the cause of the death of any individual," affidavit added.

Earlier, on May 24, the Supreme Court had suggested that there must be a uniform policy and guidelines for issuance of death certificates for those affected with Covid-19.

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TAGS:Supreme CourtDoctorsCovid deaths certification
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