Violence against doctors: Maha Govt says existing legal provisions adequate
Mumbai: Responding to a PIL, filed in 2020, seeking guidelines to curb violence against doctors, the Maharashtra Government has recently submitted before the Bombay High Court that the existing legal provisions, including the 2010 Maharashtra Medicare Service Persons Act, are enough to deal with rising incidents of violence against doctors and medical staff.
The High Court will hear the matter later this month.
PTI reports that in an affidavit filed in the court on Monday, the state government has submitted that the above Act and provisions of the Indian Penal Code are enforced in cases of relatives or acquaintances of patients assaulting doctors and hospital staff.
At least 302 cases of assault on healthcare professionals had been registered across the state between January 2017 and March 2021, the state submitted. Of these, 231 cases alone were registered in 2020.
The response from the State Government comes after a petition moved by Dr. Rajiv Digambar Joshi last year.
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that Dr. Joshi had submitted that the provisions of the Acts implemented by the government were not adequate enough to stop the violence against medical professionals, hence, he sought the formulation of guidelines for the protection of medical professionals and medical institutions from violence and attacks in case of medical mishaps, in order to ensure the safety of the health care workers and their families.
The petitioner had alleged before the Court, "Insufficient protection of medical service institutions and medical service personnel is a serious violation of their right to practice the medical profession without hindrance and also their rights to lives."
PTI reports that as per the PIL, Maharashtra witnesses maximum number of such instances of violence.
The petitioner had also claimed in his plea that the state government has failed to implement existing legal provisions, including the 2010 Act, to curb such instances.
Considering the PIL alleging non-implementation of the provisions of Maharashtra Medical Service Persons and Medical Service Institution Act, 2010 as well as the amendments introduced in the Epidemic Disease Act 1897, the Bombay High Court had ordered the State to file a response regarding the same.
Accordingly, in its affidavit filed through Kishor Bhalerao, deputy secretary, state home department, the state government submitted that it had taken prompt action whenever such cases were reported.
It has been stated that 1,088 security guards of the Maharashtra State Security Corporation have been deployed at all government medical college-affiliated hospitals in the state. Apart from this, over 500 regular security guards have also been deployed at such hospitals, the state said in the affidavit.
According to the affidavit, the 2010 Act attracts imprisonment for three years and a fine of Rs 50,000 for people convicted for assaults or attacks on the medical staff, for damaging hospital property, etc.
The government, however, said that while it believed the existing legal provisions were adequate, it was open to forming a committee to look into the shortcomings of the existing Act, if the court so directed.