The Indian Medical Association had demanded that the practice of having a doctor participate in the process of execution be scrapped. The Telegraph reports that the IMA has asked medical regulators in the country to amend the code of conduct of doctors, so that they are not made to be present at hangings.
Krishnan Kumar Agarwal, national president of the IMA, said in a statement: "No doctor should be present during the process of execution. This would be a violation of medical ethics and should be deemed professional misconduct."
The report adds that the doctors want to implement a 2012 resolution by the World Medical Association. While they do not want to have any part in capital punishment, they've said that they can be asked to check the deceased after the process in order to issue a death certificate.
In 2012, the World Medical Association announced that it was against a physician's morals to abet and participate in the killing of a human being.
The general assembly of the World Medical Association therefore undertook a resolution in Bangkok in 2012 to not participate in processes of capital punishment undertaken by governments.
Explaining their decision, the resolution said: "There is universal agreement that physicians must not participate in executions because such participation is incompatible with the physician's role as healer. The use of a physician's knowledge and clinical skill for purposes other than promoting health, wellbeing and welfare undermines a basic ethical foundation of medicine—first, do no harm."
They also declared the following:
Therefore, be it RESOLVED that:
- Physicians will not facilitate the importation or prescription of drugs for execution.
- The WMA reaffirms: "that it is unethical for physicians to participate in capital punishment, in any way, or during any step of the execution process, including its planning and the instruction and/or training of persons to perform executions", and
- The WMA reaffirms: that physicians "will maintain the utmost respect for human life and will not use [my] medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat."
India Today reports Dr Agarwal saying: "All the policies and resolutions of the WMA are accepted by all member national medical associations, this makes India a signatory to all policies and resolutions adopted by the WMA, so we have requested the MCI to implement the 'WMA Resolution on Physician Participation in Capital Punishment', as a guideline for doctors in the country."