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Report No. 156

Working Session III: Corporate Liability in Criminal Law and Liability of Doctors for issuing false certificates

This session commenced with the introduction by Shri S.K. Gambhir, Advocate. The session was presided over by Justice Ms. Sujatha V. Hanohar, Judge, Supreme Court of India.

Justice Ms. Sujatha v. Manohar made general observation regarding the new sections 94A, 94B proposed to be incorporated in the I.P.C. (Amendment) Bill, 1978 as also about clause 91 of the Bill which seeks to insert new section 190A regarding issue or signing of false medical certificate and emphasised the need for suitable consideration and examination of these provisions.

Shri Dipankar P. Gupta, Sr. Advocate raised the basic issue as to whether company itself can at all be held guilty of committing an offence and if so, how it can be possible to award punishment of imprisonment for the company. He suggested that reappraisal of the proposed new sections 94A and 94B is needed to ascertain whether these new provisidns would serve any purpose at all. He further stated that employees of the company whether in managerial cadre or lower level should be held liable if they commit any offence while discharging their duties as it may not be physically possible to send the company itself to jail to suffer punishment of imprisonment.

Dr. D.K. Prahlada Rao, President, Institute of Company Secretaries of India vehemently opposed the insertion of new sections 94A and 94B in the I.P.C. as the insertion of these provisions would be counter-productive and would come in the smooth functioning of companies as according to him, it would be very difficult to decide as to who is really responsible for committing an offence and as sometimes there are several persons ranging from Director, Manager and other officers who are collectively and jointly incharge of running the business and in such a situation it would be rather impracticable to identify the real culprit who has actually been instrumental in committing the offence.

Dr. Achal Bhagat, Sr. Consultant, Apollo Hospital, explained the difficulties which the Doctors face while issuing certificates. He pointed out that sometimes to different views can be taken on the basis of a same clinical test results and that it may not be advisable to create criminal liability for a Doctor if he has issued any certificate in good faith. He further pointed out that there is no need to insert a new section 198A in the I.P.C. as the existing provisions, particularly sections 193 and 194 are adequate to deal with the situation. He further stated that why only doctors should be discriminated when there are so many other authorities who issue certificates for various purposes.

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