Govt forms panel to draft central law to check violence on doctors; to submit report on July 17

Govt forms panel to draft central law to check violence on doctors; to submit report on July 17

The Union Health Ministry has entrusted an eight-member sub-committee with the task of drafting a central law to check violence against doctors and other medical professionals, a long-standing demand of the medical fraternity.  

The sub-committee has been directed to draft the law by July17, officials said.

The panel comprises officials from the Health Ministry andrepresentatives from the Medical Council of India, Indian Medical Association(IMA), AIIMS RDA among others.

An experienced person from the Bureau of Police Research andDevelopment is likely to be nominated for assisting the panel in drafting thelaw, they said.

The sub-committee was constituted after a 10-member panelset up by the Health Ministry to examine the "pros and cons" ofbringing such a central legislation held its meeting last week and mulled waysto strengthen security at medical establishments across the country. 

"The members of the sub-committee have been requestedto carry out the drafting work over next one week. They will hold a meeting onJuly 17 for submitting the draft legislation. The sub-committee shall submitthe draft legislation to the (10-member) Committee, which shall hold its nextmeeting on July 22 to consider the draft legislation," the minutes of themeeting held on July 10 stated.

The proposed central legislation will have uniformapplication and impact across the country and will be more effective inprotecting the doctors, paramedics and clinical establishments, the minutessaid.

The meeting held on July 10 was attended by officials of theHome Ministry, Legal Affairs Department, Health Ministry, Medical Council ofIndia, various doctors' associations, and medical superintendents of AIIMS andRML Hospital. 

The participants brought out the present day situationwherein many incidents of assault on doctors on duty and clinicalestablishments are coming to the fore.

They noted that such incidents have become a matter ofroutine and are recurrent in nature, and are happening in both government andprivate establishments, the minutes of the meeting said.

It was also observed that several factors were contributingto incidents of assault on health care providers like infrastructural gaps, weaksecurity apparatus in clinical establishments, delayed response by lawenforcing agencies, insufficient facilities of counselling of attendants,unregulated entry of trespassers, lack of fear of stringent legal provisions,overburdened doctors, breach of patient-doctor trust, lack of functional androbust grievance cells and legal protection of doctors, paramedics etc.

It was also noted that 18 states have enacted their own lawsto prevent such incidents, but the medical practitioners are not satisfied withthe implementation of the existing provisions under the State Acts and wantmore stringent provisions. 

A representative of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA, whoattended the meeting, said his ministry put forth that the Indian Penal Code isa general and comprehensive code intended to cover all substantive aspects ofcriminal law, and the Code of Criminal Procedure is the main legislation on theprocedure of administration of substantive criminal law in India, irrespectiveof caste, creed and category of work.

"He also said that the Ministry of Health should bringa stand-alone legislation to make specific provisions exclusively for doctors,paramedics and clinical establishments," the note stated.

Last month, the IMA held a nationwide protest followingassault on doctors at the NRS Medical College in Kolkata and demanded theenactment of a central law to check violence on medical professionals inhospitals.

They also wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah demandingenactment of the law, saying it should have the provision of minimum seven-yearjail sentence to violaters.Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan hadsupported the demand for the central law and said such crimes should be madenon-bailable. He had also written to all states, requesting the chief ministersto consider enacting specific legislation for protecting medical professionalsfrom any form of violence, along with suggesting a model law proposed by theIMA.

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