Disappointment to Doctors: MHA rejects Doctors Protection Bill; says no need for seperate law
New Delhi: Bringing disappointment to the entire medical fraternity across the country, the Ministry of Home Affairs has rejected bill calling for central law aimed at protection of doctors and hospitals, which has been long-standing demand of the medical fraternity.
The gist of the reasoning put forward by the ministry stated that there is no need for a separate law for violence against doctors, and if the same comes into play, other fraternities such as lawyers and police will also start demanding the same.
With the growing instances of violence against doctors and the knee jerk reaction of medical fraternity of going on strike, a bill was drafted by the health ministry to check violence against doctors and other healthcare professionals, attempting to put in place comprehensive central legislation to put a check on violence against healthcare professionals
The health ministry had intended to introduce the bill during the winter session of Parliament, which ended on December 13.
The same unfortunately has been put on the backburner with the Home Ministry stating that there was no need for a separate law in this regard
"The home ministry dismissed the need for a separate law to check violence against the fraternity members of a specific profession. It had said there should be no specific law for a particular profession, and the IPC and CrPC are sufficient to deal with it.
"According to the MHA, if there is a central law for doctors, then other people will also demand the same. Hence, the central law to protect any specific fraternity will not come up for consideration and approval,"the official told media persons.
A senior Health Ministry official told ANI: "We have received comments from the MHA. They have objected to the draft of the Bill for preventing assault against doctors. As of now, we have kept it on hold."
Read Also: Upto Rs 5 lakh Compensation to Medicos victim of Violence: Union Health Ministry releases draft bill, invites comments
The draft bill proposed imprisonment between three and 10 years and imposition of fines between Rs 2 lakh to Rs 10 lakh for "grievously hurting" doctors and other healthcare professionals in clinical establishments.
Those commissioning violence or causing 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 5 lakh, it had proposed.
The draft bill also had provisions for compensation which could be twice the market value of a property damaged and Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh for being assaulted or hurt, sources said. 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.
Healthcare professionals include doctors, para-medical staff and also medical students, diagnostic service providers in a health facility and ambulance drivers.
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.
It was put in public domain for feedback in September.
In June, resident doctors across the country held protests and went on a strike against a brutal attack on their colleagues in Kolkata by relatives of a patient who died during treatment.
It was at that time that the demand for a comprehensive central legislation to check violence against doctors and other medical professionals at hospitals gained currency.