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Report No. 241

9. Permission to be obtained from High Court and the procedure.-

(1) Any near relative, next friend, legal guardian of patient, the medical practitioner or para-medical staff generally attending on the patient or the management of the hospital where the patient has been receiving treatment or any other person obtaining the leave of court, may apply to the High Court having territorial jurisdiction for granting permission for withholding or withdrawing medical treatment of an incompetent patient or a competent patient who has not taken informed decision.

(2) Such application shall be treated as original petition and the Chief Justice of High Court shall assign the same to a Division Bench without any loss of time and the same shall be disposed of by the High Court as far as practicable within a month,

Provided that a letter addressed to the Registrar-General or Judicial Registrar of the High Court by any of the persons above mentioned containing all the material particulars seeking the permission under sub-section (1) shall be placed before the Chief Justice without delay and the letter shall be treated as original petition.

(3) The Division Bench of the High Court may, if deemed necessary, appoint an amicus curiae to assist the Court and where a patient is unrepresented, direct legal aid to be provided to such patient.

(4) The High Court shall take necessary steps to obtain the expert medical opinion of three medical practitioners drawn from the panel prepared under Section 4 and any other expert medical practitioner if considered necessary and issue appropriate directions for the payment to be made towards the remuneration of the experts.

(5) The High Court shall, having due regard to the report of panel of experts and the wishes of close relations, namely, spouse, parents, major children or in their absence such other persons whom the High Court deems fit to put on notice and on consideration of the best interests of the patient, pass orders granting or refusing permission or granting permission subject to any conditions.

(6) The medical practitioner or the hospital management or staff who in accordance with the order of High Court, withholds or withdraws medical treatment to the patient concerned shall, notwithstanding any other law in force, be absolved of any criminal or civil liability.

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