Union Health Ministry's draft bill proposes 10 years of imprisonment and Rs 10 lakh fine for assaulting doctor

The Union Ministry of Health has proposed legislation to address the issue of violence against healthcare professionals and damage to the property of clinical establishments across the country. The bill proposes a jail term of up to 10 years and a maximum fine of Rs 10 lakh as punishment for these offences.

According to the Hindustan Times, the minimum jail term will be six months, and a person will have to shell out at least Rs 50,000, if convicted, with the jail term and fine varying according to the extent of the hurt and damage caused. Under this, the ministry has proposed to put a person behind bars with a maximum of 10 years of imprisonment and Rs 10 lakh fine for assaulting a doctor or healthcare personnel.

The proposed legislation is being introduced to address the rise in instances of violence against healthcare service professionals and damage to the property of clinical establishments across the country. The proposed legislation makes assaulting doctors a cognizable and non-bailable offence. In addition, the person charged with damaging hospital property will have to pay twice the amount of fair market value of the damaged property.

The move comes after doctors on several occasions went on an indefinite strike all over India as they were assaulted and attacked by family members of the attendants. In Delhi last week two resident doctors at Safdarjung Hospital were thrashed by attendants of a family member who had passed away at the hospital. The Union Health Ministry is seeking suggestions from the public within 30 days on the draft legislation titled - The Health Services Personal and Clinical Establishments (Prohibition of violence and damage to property) Bill, 2019.

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