Modi government's decision to bring in an ordinance to end violence against health workers using stringent penalties against assaulters has received cheering welcome from medical forums.
Dr. Harish Gupta, elected member of the National Medical Commission and Delhi Medical Council, was part of the virtual meeting alongside representatives of the Indian Medical Association with Home Minister Amit Shah and Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan earlier on Wednesday. He hailed the government's move to amend the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897, and categorising assaults on healthcare workers as cognizable and non-bailable offense.
He said the ordinance will help instill confidence in safety and security among doctors and other healthcare workers. He thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Home and Health Ministers for taking the decision.
Under the ordinance - if convicted, the accused can be sentenced from 3 months to 5 years in prison and penalised from Rs 50,000 upto Rs 2 Lakh based on the gravity of offense. In case of grievous injuries, the accused can be sentenced from 6 months to 7 years and they can be penalised from Rs 1 Lakh to Rs 5 Lakhs.
In addition, if any damage is done to the vehicles or clinics of healthcare workers, then a compensation amounting to twice the market value of the damaged property will be taken from the accused. Javadekar said that there were rising demands to make a special law in this regard, other than provisions already present under other Acts like IPC, NSA, Disaster Management Act, among others.