The Union Cabinet on Wednesday brought in an ordinance under which any person who attacks healthcare personnel who is treating coronavirus cases can be jailed for a maximum of 7 years and Rs 5 lakh fine.
The ordinance by the central government was brought in to amend the century-old Epidemic Act, meeting a key demand of healthcare personnel in the wake of recent attacks on them.
Union minister Prakash Javdekar said while addressing a press conference the ordinance has been brought in to “save health professionals and other COVID-19 warriors”.
Under the new law laid down by union cabinet, attack on healthcare personnel deployed in combating coronavirus is a cognizable and non-bailable offense m, i.e. police can arrest the accused, & only courts can release them on bail.
Punishment in Normal cases:
Jail term: 3 months – 5 years
Fine: Rs 50,000 – Rs 2 lakh.
Punishment in Serious cases:
Jail term: 6 months – 7 years
Fine: Rs 1 lakh – Rs 7 lakh.
The guilty will be made to pay a fine if in case the damage is caused to the vehicles and clinics of health professional which is double the market rate of the property damaged.
Earlier, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) asked the central government to bring in a law on an urgent basis to protect healthcare workers from the attack on duty. This demand was amid rising attacks on health professionals on the frontline of the fight against the coronavirus outbreak.
The Indian Medical Association also asked doctors & hospitals all over the country to light candles as a protest against such shameless attacks.
The amended law Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 will come into effect after the President promulgates it & the central government notifies it.
The Indian Medical Association had also warned that they would observe a ‘Black Day’ if no action is taken by the central government on an urgent basis.
However, the symbolic protest was called off after getting assurance for providing adequate security to health professionals by Union Home Minister Amit Shah.