Over the past years, violence against Indian doctors has been a constant topic of controversy. Following the continuous protest of doctors and the organisations, the health ministry was planning to introduce jail term and fine for the persons who found guilty of physically or mentally abusing doctors. Now, draft legislation seeking to punish people who assault on-duty doctors and other healthcare professionals by imprisoning them for up to 10 years, has been finalised. The Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said that this would be made public soon for feedback as well.
According to the provisions of the draft bill, people who grievously hurt doctors and other healthcare professionals in the hospitals can get a jail term between three to ten years along with a fine between Rs 2 to 10 lakh.
Not only that but those who commit violence or cause damage to the property of a healthcare facility can be imprisoned for six months to five years and fined between Rs 50,000 and Rs five lakh. The healthcare professionals include doctors, paramedical staff, medical students diagnostic service providers in a health facility and ambulance drivers. Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said that once finalised, they will take it to the cabinet. In case of non-payment of compensation by a convict, the amount may be recovered as arrears of land revenue under the Revenue Recovery Act 1890, the sources said. According to the draft bill, violence can be an act which causes any kind of hurt, intimidation, obstruction or endangers the life of any healthcare service personnel in the discharge of duty within the premises of a healthcare facility. It also includes damage or loss to property or documents in a clinical establishment.
The draft legislation has been approved by the health minister.
The Health Ministry had entrusted an eight-member sub-committee, comprising its officials and representatives from the Medical Council of India, Indian Medical Association, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences’ Resident Doctors Association and an experienced person from the Bureau of Police Research and Development, with the task of drafting the bill.

Source: Times of India.

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