Stringent law for healthcare workers
The Union Cabinet on 22 April 2020 promulgated an ordinance to protect healthcare workers who have been facing violent attacks in the line of duty during the coronavirus pandemic. Union minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters that the decision was taken during the Union Cabinet meeting today, saying that attacks against doctors and medical staff will not be tolerated.
Key points of the Union minister's address:
- Health workers who are trying to save the country from this epidemic are unfortunately facing attacks. No incident of violence or harassment, against them will be tolerated, said the Union minister.
- The proposed ordinance will amend the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.
- Such crime will now be cognizable and non-bailable.
- Investigation will be done within 30 days.
- In case of grievous injuries to health workers, the accused can be sentenced from anywhere between 6 months to 7 years and can be fined Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.
- 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.
- Talking about whether the new changes in the law will be applicable even after the threat of COVID-19 is over, Javadekar said that the ordinance has been approved to amend the Epidemic Act.
- The Ordinance will be implemented after the President's sanction.