Register FIRs against those involved in assault on doctors, fast-track such cases: Centre to States and UTs
The Union government on Saturday told States and UTs to file cases and invoke the stringent Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Act, 2020 against people who attack doctors and healthcare professionals.
This comes after several incidents of attack on doctors and healthcare professionals were reported from different parts of the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his letter to States and Union Territories, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said that any incident of threat or assault on doctors or healthcare professionals might dampen their morale and create a sense of insecurity amongst them.
‘Strict action must be taken against those who assault healthcare professionals’
This may adversely affect the healthcare response system, he added.
The home secretary further said that it has become imperative that strict action must be taken against those who assault healthcare professionals in the current scenario.
“Institutional FIRs should be registered against assaulters, and such cases should be fast-tracked. You may also like to invoke provisions of the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Act, 2020, where applicable,” he said.
Anyone involved in the assault on doctors and healthcare professionals is liable to be punished with imprisonment up to five years and a fine up to Rs two lakh.
If the healthcare worker sustains grievous injuries, the person committing the crime can be imprisoned for up to seven years and a fine up to Rs five lakh.
These offences will be cognisable and non-bailable.
‘Emphasise valuable contribution made by doctors, healthcare personnel’
The Union Home Secretary has also told the States and UTs to keep a close watch on any objectionable content floating on social media, which may exacerbate such situations.
“Concerted efforts should be made through posters in hospitals, social media, etc., to emphasise the valuable contribution being made by doctors and other healthcare personnel in the fight against COVID-19,” he wrote.
On June 18, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) called a nationwide protest over recent incidents of violence against healthcare professionals and demanded a central law to curb such cases.
According to IMA, around 3.5 lakh doctors participated in the agitation.