The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has formed a committee to look into the feasibility factor of a central law to stop violence against doctors across the country.
The move comes to the fore in the backdrop of last month all India strike by doctors following attacks on medicos by the family of a patient in Kolkata. Apparently, the panel has been directed to check the “pros and cons” of bringing central legislation and whether it will be effective to check violence on medical professionals in hospitals.
The 10-member panel which held its first meeting on Wednesday comprises members from the Home Ministry and the Legal Affairs Department. It also has representatives from the Medical Council of India and doctors’ associations, and medical superintendents of AIIMS and RML Hospital.
Meanwhile, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has welcomed the Centre’s move for a committee to discuss issues related to a Central Act for the security of doctors.
“IMA has won the first battle in its struggle against violence. The Union government has constituted an inter-ministerial committee to go into the central legislation against the assault on doctors and hospitals. Congratulations to the entire medical fraternity,” the doctors’ body said in a statement.
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The IMA had launched a four-day nationwide protest last month following the Kolkata incident and wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah demanding enactment of a central law saying it should have a provision for a minimum of seven-year jail sentence to violators.
Following the incident, junior doctors went on a week-long agitation, disrupting health care services at all state-run hospitals in Kolkata.
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan had supported the demand for a central law and had said that such crimes should be made non-bailable.