Thursday, July 16, 2020

Himachal HC to Doctors - Stop the practice of issuing Disability Certificates that can't stand legal scrutiny [Judgement included]

Dear Readers,

Finally the Judiciary has cracked the whip on the medical doctors who have been silently issuing Disability Certificates for a long time with a caveat added through a note - "This certificate is not valid for medico-legal purposes." Some have been writing on top or bottom of the Disability Certificate that "This certificate would not be valid for court cases or for claiming compensation."

The Himanchal Pradesh High Court has taken a serious note of this anomaly while hearing a case of a lecturer Ms. Kanchan from Sirmaur who had challenged her transfer. While the court found no merit in her petition, but during the course of the hearing, it was argued by the respondents that petitioner's  disability certificate issued by a chief medical officer, included a note which said the certificate would not be valid for court cases and for claiming compensations hence, it was not valid in the eyes of law.

The division bench of Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Jyotsna Rewal Dua then directed medical officers in the state against issuing certificates which are not valid in a court of law, terming such certificates “nothing short of being false and fabricated”. The court observed that a number of medical officers issue certificates to patients or people with disabilities with a note that the certificate would not be valid for court cases or for claiming compensation.

“It is high time that there is an end to this practice. Or else, it would give impetus to medical officers whether they be government doctors or private practitioners to issue such certificates which have no judicial relevance and are inadmissible, and are, thus, nothing short of being false and fabricated certificates which can be grossly misused,”  the Bench observed.

“We are convinced that this note has been appended only with the intent that the officer issuing the certificate may not be hauled up before the court or tribunal, if eventually such a certificate is found to be false in whole or in part. The court cannot approve this,” the court noted.

The Bench directed the Additional Chief Secretary (Health) to look into the matter and issue instructions to end the practice within four weeks.

Download the Court Judgement:  Court website link | Google Drive link

Himachal HC | Kanchan Versus State of H.P. & Ors | CWP No. 1915 of 2020 | 15 Jul 2020