The Significance of the Anuradha Saha on Medical Negligence

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INTRODUCTION October 24, 2013 was a historical day for the Indian judiciary - the Supreme Court delivered a landmark judgment in the award of compensation in an important case on medical negligence, the Anuradha Saha case which had been languishing in lower courts for over a decade. The unprecedented compensation amounting to a whopping Rs. 11 crore is the highest quantum of monetary damages ever awarded in India in a medical negligence case. Several questions have been raised in retrospect about the significance of this decision and its future ramifications in the context of the established doctrine of stare decisis. The judgment on damages implicates the question of the relationship between tortious remedies and the legal relief provided for by consumer protection law in India. Some of the key analytical points raised by this relationship are the definition of who is a consumer; whether victims of mass torts and injured patients of medical negligence cases are covered by this definition; and what the economic and policy implications of this unprecedented ruling on exemplary damages may be. This paper is divided into two parts. The first part will examine the definitional clauses of the Consumer Protection Act 1986 and review its scope through case law to show the present position of the law. The argument in the first part will pitch patients and victims of medical negligence cases within the scope of the statute. The second part will discuss the rationale behind the

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