Doctors have been living in constant fear of assault, given the history of angry relatives beating them. And why not.There have been number of cases where a doctor was assaulted and beaten black and blue.
There were processions and strikes regarding this matter. But now, a draft bill meant to prevent violence against doctors has been presented by the Union health ministry.
What Does The Draft Say?
The draft that was presented in the first week of July contained the most important aspect of protecting doctors from any kind of assault when they are on duty.
The committee unanimously decided that there was a grave need to come up with a law to protect the doctors. For this, an eight-member subcommittee was constituted to draft the bill.
With his draft bill, violence against doctors has been made a criminal offence. Now, anyone who does that may end up with a 10-year prison sentence or be fined up to Rs 10 lakh.
This will be covered under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrCP).
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In The Words Of Committee Member
Furthermore, this bill is going to make assaulting doctors a cognizable and non-bailable offence.
One of the subcommittee members said, “The most important aspect of the draft bill is the gradation system, which looks at the type of assault and describes the punishment accordingly. For a simple injury, the minimum punishment would be six months imprisonment and/or Rs 50,000 fine and the maximum would be five years imprisonment and/or Rs 5 lakh fine.”
Also, the person responsible for the assault will be arrested without a warrant. The offender would have to go the court for bail. In addition to that, the draft bill does not make provisions for an institutional FIR (first information report).
“The concept of institutional FIR is not mentioned in the draft bill; however, it does state that if the victim so chooses they may give a written representation to the institution and ask them to file a case on their behalf,” as told by the member of the committee.
- “The other part of the solution would be for the government to look at the root cause. There is a need for increasing healthcare funding, improving facilities, increasing the number of doctors. Only then will the patient be satisfied and there will be fewer incidents of violence,” as per one of the doctors.
- Currently, only 19 states have laws to protect violence against doctors. And according to FORDA, there hasn’t been any convictions under laws meant to protect doctors.
- With this draft, the central bill is likely to be replaced if it gets passed and is put into action. .