Any attack on doctors, medical personnel is unacceptable and non-negotiable: Kerala HC directs state to suggest measures to prevent violence
Kochi: Observing that any attack on doctors and medical personnel is unacceptable and non-negotiable, the Kerala High Court has asked the State Government to suggest measures including legislation for preventing attacks on healthcare workers.Seeking a response from the Government within March 30, the HC bench of Justices Devan Ramachandran and Kauser Edappagath has observed that it is...
Kochi: Observing that any attack on doctors and medical personnel is unacceptable and non-negotiable, the Kerala High Court has asked the State Government to suggest measures including legislation for preventing attacks on healthcare workers.
Seeking a response from the Government within March 30, the HC bench of Justices Devan Ramachandran and Kauser Edappagath has observed that it is more concerned about preventing violence against doctors rather than taking action after the attacks.
"The Government, therefore, has to now tell us the modus to ensure such attacks never take place, because what we are concerned about is not the action after such an attack, but the prevention itself," observed the bench.
Making it clear that the attacks on doctors and medical personnel would not be approved, the bench further noted, "...we get the feeling that there is an attempt - perhaps unintended - to justify the attacks in one form or the other."
The observations were made by the High Court bench while considering a plea filed by Kerala Private Hospitals Association. Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that last year, the bench had suggested the Government to consider deploying police presence in hospitals, especially in the most sensitive areas and later extend it to other hospitals as well.
During the course of the hearing over the past few months, the HC bench had also referred to the reports of 'routine' attacks on Healthcare personnel and observed that even though Kerala Healthcare Service Act 2012 has provision for strict penalties for assault against healthcare workers, the legal provision was not sufficient to stop the assaults.
Apart from this, taking note of the increasing number of attacks upon doctors, the HC bench had earlier directed the police authorities to ensure that a First Information Report (FIR) gets registered on every incident of violence within one hour. Besides, in a landmark move, the HC bench also decided to directly take cognizance of the complaints regarding violence against doctors, nurses or other healthcare professionals.
During the last hearing of the case on March 8, 2023, the Court had cognisance of the recent attack on a Senior Cardiologist in Calicut and directed the Commissioner of Police, Calicut city to file a detailed report under his own name, before the court. Apart from this, the bench had also directed Superintendent of Police, Ernakulam (Rural) to file a report regarding a similar instance of violence against doctors at Muvattupuzha.
The matter was listed for further hearing on March 24. During the hearing of the matter, the HC bench took note of the police reports regarding the recent instances of violence against doctors at Kozhikode and Muvattupuzha.
Clarifying its stand regarding violence against doctors, the HC bench noted, "We do not propose to say in detail today; but, suffice it to record that we cannot approve of the attacks on doctors and medical personnel, whatever be the reason. We are indicating this because, we get the feeling that there is an attempt – perhaps unintended – to justify the attacks in one form or the other."
"We make it clear that, whatever be the provocation or reason that anyone may impel or project, an attack on a medical personnel is unacceptable and that this is non-negotiable," it further added.
When the bench asked the Government about the modus to ensure that the instances of attacks on doctors could be stopped, the counsel for the State sought a few days time for this.
However, considering that fact that two or three other incidents have happened in between, the bench listed the matter on March 30, 2023 while noting that "we do not think that any time can be lost."
The bench, therefore, has asked the State to submit suggestions to prevent violence against doctors. "We close for now, recording that it is our firm belief that unless the Civil society is properly sensitized, as also the doctors, the unfortunate strife at least in a very few cases, will continue. Our endeavor is to end this and we, therefore, call upon the Government to come out with firm suggestions including, legislative, if they have any in mind," observed the bench.
To read the order, click on the link below:
Barsha completed her MA from the University of Burdwan, West Bengal in 2018. Having a knack for Journalism she joined Medical Dialogues back in 2020. She mainly covers news about medico legal cases, NMC/DCI updates, medical education issues including the latest updates about medical and dental colleges in India. She can be contacted at email@example.com.