IMA writes to MCI to scrap doctors’ presence in execution process

New Delhi, Oct 25- The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has written to the Medical Council of India (MCI) demanding that the participation of doctors in the process of capital punishment be scrapped.

In a letter to the MCI president, IMA chief K K Aggarwal said the presence of physicians at the time of execution was a “violation of medical ethics”.

“The Indian Medical Association holds the view that no doctor should be present during the process of execution. This is a violation of medical ethics and therefore, a professional misconduct,” Aggarwal said in the letter.

Doctors are required to monitor vital signs of convicts during the process of execution, and look for signs of life and then pronounce death.

The World Medical Association (WMA) which came out with ‘Resolution on Physician Participation in Capital Punishment’ in 1981 and amended in 2008, has advised its member medical associations against participating in the processes of capital punishment undertaken by governments as it is “incompatible with a physician’s role as healer”.

It also stated that physicians should not facilitate the importation or prescription of drugs for execution.

Further, the amended WMA Declaration of Geneva ‘The Physician’s Pledge’ was adopted by the WMA General Assembly on October 14, 2017 in Chicago, Aggarwal said.

“All the policies and resolutions of the WMA are accepted by member national medical associations. This makes India a signatory to all the policies and resolutions adopted by the body (WMA).

“We, therefore, request you to implement the WMA ‘Resolution on Physician Participation in Capital Punishment’ as a guideline for doctors in the country,” the letter added.