The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has on Tuesday amended the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 to punish those assaulting doctors and paramedical staffs. This comes days after the Central government brought an ordinance to protect the health workers. As per sources, the amendment made by the UP government - Uttar Pradesh Epidemic Disease Covid-19 Regulations, 2020 states that fine up to 2 lakhs and jail term till seven years may be imposed. The amendment comes into effect immediately and is valid until June 30, 2020.
Addressing a press briefing earlier in the day, Union I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar announced that the Union Cabinet had approved an ordinance to protect the health workers. Basically, the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 has been amended to make an attack on health workers a cognisable and non-bailable offence. The investigation in such cases has to be completed within 30 days and the verdict will have to be delivered within one year. Assault on health workers will attract a penalty of Rs.50,000 to 2 lakh and a jail term of 3 months to 5 years.
If it is a serious injury, an enhanced penalty in the form of Rs.1 to 5 lakh and a jail term ranging from 6 months to 7 years will apply. Moreover, twice the cost of the damaged property of healthcare workers will be recovered from the guilty. Javadekar also revealed that a decision had been taken by the Cabinet whereby non-COVID patients can be freely treated even in non-panelled or COVID hospitals under the Ayushmann Bharat Yojana.