The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare continues to pursue the government to bring in the draft legislation bill - Health and Services Personnel and Clinical Establishments (Prohibition of Violence and Damage of Property), even after the bill was refused by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. The drafted legislation bill drafted by the health ministry is considered to be important in addressing the increasing cases of violence against healthcare service professionals and damage to the hospital or clinic property.
The Ministry had initially planned to bring in the matter in the winter session of Parliament but was denied permission by the Ministry of Home Affairs. On Tuesday, the Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan stated that the health ministry is still on it and discussions are ongoing to introduce a Central law for the protection of doctors.
Union Ministry of Health and family welfare's bill seeks a maximum of 10 years of jail for people found guilty of assaulting the doctors and a Rs 10 lakh fine for assaulting healthcare personnel. This draft legislation was prepared by the ministry in September.
Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State (Health) confirmed the development while addressing the doctors' gathering at the 20th Convocation ceremony of National Board of Examinations in Delhi.
MoS Choubey stated that the government is concerned about the increasing number of cases of attack on doctors. "We are committed to providing a secure and safe environment to doctors at the workplace," he said. Preeti Sudan, Union Health Secretary also stated that the health ministry is actively pursuing the matter.
Earlier in November, the law ministry had suggested certain provisions to be made for the draft legislation bill. "It is thus suggested that a provision may be incorporated to make the offences under the bill/act triable by a designated court/special court," it said.
The Law Ministry observed that the proposed bill does not have any provision prescribing a time limit for completing the investigation and filing of the charge sheet, and suggested that suitable provisions for time-bound filing of charge sheet in 60 days may be incorporated in the bill.
"In such a situation, even after the resignation of the case there would be delays in filing of charge sheet which may frustrate the very purpose of the act," it said. In proposed section 9(1) (i), the compensation for damaged property has been based on fair market value which is ambiguous and likely to create confusion and debate, it said. The ministry proposed that some procedure for definite/determined compensation may be prescribed. In an alternate, it may be left to the court to determine the compensation, it said.
(With agency inputs)