As the cases of attacks on medical personnel and doctors are increasing, the Government of India issued an ordinance in order to protect the doctors, nurses and other medical personnel. According to the ordinance issued, the cases of assault on medics will be non-bailable, announced Prakash Javadekar, Information and Broadcasting, today at a media briefing.
During the briefing, Javadekar said, “Amendments in the Epidemic Diseases Act through ordinance have been approved by the cabinet. However, the approval from the President is awaited. It will be implemented after the President’s sanction. Offences will be made non-bailable and cognizable.”
Moreover, he said that the investigations on the relevant cases will be completed in 30 days and the guilty will be liable to stringent punishment including fines up to Rs 2 lakh. In serious cases, the punishment would include up to seven years of imprisonment and fines up to Rs 5 lakh, added the Minister.
Javadekar displayed a clear ‘No Tolerance towards attacks on healthcare personnel’. The decision came following the meeting of Amit Shah, Union Home Minister with the Indian Medical Association (IMA) wherein he assured the doctors of their safety. The government had received several complaints of assaults on healthcare personnel, particularly those who are working on COVID-19 cases.
On Monday, April 20, the IMA had said that it would observe a ‘Black Day’ on April 23, Thursday, if the government does not enact a central law on violence against healthcare workers. Moreover, doctors affiliated with various associations have been urging the government to constitute a law to make assaults against them a non-bailable offence.
Medical professionals particularly those involved in COVID-19 care have been attacked in various places and have also been harassed by landlords and pushed out of their accommodation over fears that they could be carriers of the virus.