Ordinance provides for 7 years jail for attack on doctors and health workers

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The Central government has promulgated an ordinance with provisions for a jail term ranging from six months to 7 years and fine from Rs.1 lakh to Rs.8 lakh for those found guilty of attacking doctors and health workers.

The new provision has been added to the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1987 in the wake of widespread attack on health workers in various parts of the country.  Addressing the media after a Union Cabinet meet, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said that the government will not spare those attacking health warriors.

He said that it was unfortunate that the health workers who are trying to protect the country from the epidemic are facing attacks. “No incident of violence or harassment against them will be tolerated,” he said.

“Such crime will now be cognizable and non-bailable. Investigation will be done within 30 days and final judgement delivered within a year. Accused can be sentenced from 3 months to five years and penalised from Rs 50,000 upto Rs 2 lakh,” he said, adding that in case of grievous injuries, the convicts could face jail term from 6 months to 7 years.

Javadekar said that ASHA workers who are working at par with other health workers will also be covered under the law. If 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, the minister added.

The Indian Medical Association had called a protest against the mounting attacks on the health workers. The protest was called off following talks representatives of the IMA had with Home Minister Amit Shah (with inputs from agencies).

Image Credit: The Week

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