Report No. 241
12. Enabling provision for seeking declaratory relief before a Division Bench of The High Court.
(1) Any patient or his or her parents or his relatives or next friend may move an original petition before a Division Bench of The High Court seeking a declaration that any act or omission or proposed act or omission by the medical practitioner or a hospital in respect of withholding or withdrawing medical treatment from a patient is lawful or unlawful and seeking such interim or final directions from the said Court as they may deem fir.
Explanation: 'High Court' in this section and section 13 means the High Court within whose territorial jurisdiction the treatment is being given or is proposed or proposed too be withheld or withdrawn.
(2) Any medical practitioner or a hospital may move an original petition before a Division Bench of the High Court seeking a declaration that any act or thee hospital in respect of withholding or withdrawing medical treatment from a patient is lawful and seek such interim or final direction from thee said Court as he or it may deem fit.
(3) The Division Bench of the High Court may, wherever it deems it necessary appoint an amicus curiae to assist the court and where a patient is unrepresented, direct legal aid to be provided to such patients.
(4) The Division Bench of the High Court shall dispose of such petitions in the light of the provisions of this Act, after hearing the patient if he or she is competent or hearing his or her parents or relatives or next friend or guardian-ad-litem, the medical practitioners or the hospital authorities treating the patient and the amicus curie, if any, and after receiving , wherever necessary or appropriate, such further evidence of witness including expert medical practitioners.
(5) Such original petitions shall be disposed of expeditously and, at any rate, within a period of thirty days from thee date of filing of the original petition.
(6) Where the High Court is of the view that interim or final directions have to be passed and implemented urgently, it may pass such operational orders initially and follow up the same by giving its reasons therefore, soon thereafter.
(7) Any declarations or final directions given by the division bench in a petition filed under sub-section (1) or (2) shall be binding in all other actions civil or criminal against the medical practitioner or the hospital, in relation to the said act or omission of the medical practitioner or the hospital, in relation to the said patient.
(8) Recourse too the High Court for a declaratory relief and for directions under this section is not a condition precedent for withholding or withdrawing medical treatment if such withdrawal or withholding is done in accordance with the provisions of this Act.