Minutes of the GBM of PAFMAT held on 08.12.2012 at Maharani Club, Patiala
Following members attended the meeting:-
- Prof. Dasari Harish
- Prof. O. P. Aggarwal
- Dr. Parmod Goyal
- Dr. S. S. Oberoi
- Dr. D. S. Bhullar
- Dr. Harjinder Singh
- Dr. Didar Singh Walia
- Dr. Akashdeep Agarwal
- Dr. Dildar Singh
- Dr. Prabhdeep Singh
- Dr. Ajay Kumar
- Dr. K.H. Chavali
Agenda of the Meeting
- To discuss the issue of computerization of medicolegal reports as directed by the Hon’ble High Court of Punjab & Haryana – the MedLEaPR software, logistic and infrastructural issues, etc.
- Any other matter with the permission of the chair.
Minutes of the Meeting:-
- The meeting was called to order by the President, Dr Dasari Harish and he welcomed all the members and appraised the house of the need to call the General Body Meeting. The Hon’ble High Court of Punjab & Haryana in a recent order has mandated that from 03.12.2012, all medico-legal reports would be prepared using the MedLEaPR software developed by the NIC. Some apprehensions had been expressed by some members and on the request of Dr DS Bhullar, the meeting was convened to discuss the issue threadbare and if required to submit a memorandum to the appropriate authorities in this regard.
Dr Bhullar was then asked to express his opinion on the issue. Dr Bhullar was of the opinion that doctors are not typists and that, for the purpose of using this software, Data Entry Operators should be provided. This is akin to a driver being provided to some officers by the government even though the officer concerned may know how to drive. Knowledge of working with computers should not mean that the doctors should start working on computers. No other persons like Junior Residents could be accepted in place of the Data Entry Operators.
Also, Dr Bhullar expressed his fear that due to the cumbersome process of typing out the reports, the doctors may not do the medicolegal examinations and may just refer the cases to the nearest referral hospital just to avoid preparing the medicolegal reports. The hospitals are already short of doctors and the few that are in service will be kept busy in the preparation of the medico-legal reports and the patient care would be affected.
Dr SS Oberoi agreed with Dr Bhullar and also added that the Data Entry Operators when appointed should be provided in the emergency round the clock and in the mortuary during the full working hours.
Dr Dasari Harish expressed the view that the DHS of the respective state has been made the nodal officer to ensure compliance of the order of the Hon’ble High Court and that all logistic requests should be made to the DHS.
Dr OP Aggarwal was of the view that the High Court has no jurisdiction to pass such a judgment and that the same should be challenged in the Supreme Court, for which, PAFMAT should be ready to become a party in the case.
Dr Dasari Harish informed that the association is short of funds and an appeal in the Supreme Court would require money. He suggested that the matter should be put up before the General Body Meeting to be held in Bathinda and ask the members to contribute monetarily for the expenses for the appeal.
Dr Akashdeep Agarwal was of the opinion that the necessary infrastructure should be first in place before the order is implemented. Also, he said that the software (MedLEaPR) is unacceptable in its present form.
Dr Didar Singh Walia wanted to know the genesis of the Court order. When he was told by the President that a doctor in the course of a hearing in the court could not understand his own handwriting and attracted censure by the Hon’ble Court, Dr Walia was of the view that a mistake or a drawback of one or even a few persons should not be generalized to all the doctors. He drew attention of the house to the order of the Hon’ble High Court about deposing by way of affidavits, which now is not being uniformly followed in either Punjab or Haryana.
Dr Harjinder Singh said that the Hon’ble Court should have been suggested to first pass an order regarding putting the necessary infrastructure in place before passing of the current order. Also, as the current order would affect a large number of PCMS doctors who are involved in medico-legal work, the PCMS association should also be involved in the matter.
Dr Dildar Singh shared his experience of preparing a medicolegal report using the software and said that the same was cumbersome, not user-friendly and took about 1½ to 2 hours to complete one case.
Dr Parmod Goyal seconded the views of Dr Akashdeep Agarwal and Dr Dildar Singh.
It was finally decided that the association should seek information under the Right to Information Act from the DHS, Punjab of the following details:
- Copies of procurement orders for computers, printers and peripherals for the purpose of implementation of the MedLEaPR software
- Copies of procurement orders for internet connections for all the government hospitals where medicolegal work is being conducted
- Any document showing the statistics/status report regarding the number of postmortem examinations and medicolegal reports prepared in the various government hospitals, dispensaries, PHCs, CHCs, medical colleges, etc. using the MedLEaPR software
- Copies of appointment orders of Data Entry Operators for the purpose of typing out medicolegal and postmortem reports as part of implementation of the MedLEaPR software
- Copy of any document(s) showing the number of doctors posted in government hospitals, who are able to type on their own
- Copy of any document(s) showing the list of mortuaries in the state of Punjab that have adequate facilities as per the IPHS/MCI norms/standards
Dr Bhullar was of the opinion that a request should be made that the information be provided before 18 th December, 2012, the next date of hearing in the Hon’ble High Court. The President, however, differed on this point and conveyed that a deadline cannot be fixed by the applicant seeking information under the RTI Act.
2. Any other with the permission of the Chair:
Dr DS Bhullar raised the issue of the next annual conference of the PAFMAT. He was conveyed that the matter had been dealt with in the previous GBM. The tentative program details sent by email to Dr Harish by Dr Parmod Goyal were read out for the benefit of all present. A copy of the same is appended herewith for information.
The General Secretary conveyed that the issue of quantum of registration fees was discussed in the last meeting and it had been decided that the same should be less than INR 500. The tentative program sent by Dr Goyal mentioned the registration fees as INR 600 and he was asked by the house to fix the registration fees in accordance with the discussions of the last meeting.
Everyone present was of the opinion that the time allocated for free paper presentations was very meager and that instead of a two hour session devoted to cadaver dissection, a couple of more speakers could be invited who would speak on topics relevant to the theme of the conference.
The conference being one that would benefit the persons of the medical field, it was unanimously decided that the conference should open with a speaker with a medical background, preferably the keynote address. Suitable changes on the above issues would be made by the Organizing Secretary Dr Parmod Goyal before finalizing the program.
The meeting ended with a vote of thanks to the Chair.
(Dr KH Chavali)
General Secretary, PAFMAT