Doctors cannot be arrested in  Sri Lanka for deaths of patients without consulting the Attorney General


Inspector General of Police
Police Headquarters
Colombo 1.
 Arrest of medical practitioners for deaths of patients

The Sri Lanka Medical Association, Independent Medical Practitioners Association and the College of General Practitioners of Sri Lanka have made representations to me regarding the arrest of members of their associations on alleged acts of rashness or negligence of the medical officers in instances where patients under their care die.  It has also been brought to my notice, that such arrest have affected national immunization programmes, as private medical practitioners are reluctant to participate in such programmes owing to the risk of death of persons involved.  This has resulted in medical practitioners adopting an ever cautious approach, which is not in the best interest of the public.
Apart from instances of voluntarily causing miscarriage (Abortion), instances where a Medical Practitioner could commit an offence in relation to patients are when such officer act rashly and/or negligently thereby committing an offences under section 298, 327. 328 or 329 of the penal code.

Since such instances of an Medical Practitioner acting rashly or negligently cannot be identified with precision, effecting an arrest of a Medical Practitioner in such circumstances may amount to a miscarriage of justice.  It would therefore be appropriate for the police to seek the advice of the Attorney General in situations where a Medical practitioner is to be arrested.

In the circumstances, you may please issue instructions to the relevant officers directing them to seek the advice of the Attorney General prior to effecting the arrest of a Medical Practitioner who is alleged to have committed any of the aforesaid offences except voluntarily causing miscarriage  (Abortion.

Palitha Fernando
Deputy Solicitor General
For Attorney General


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