NEW DELHI :
Following complaints from the medical fraternity, the Union Cabinet today decided to make acts of violence against doctors and other medical staff as a cognizable and non-bailable offence. Union minister Prakash Javadekar said the Cabinet has approved the promulgation of Ordinance to amend the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.
"The central government has brought an ordinance to end violence against health workers. It carries imprisonment from 6 months to 7 years if anyone is found guilty," Javadekar said adding that attacks on doctors and health professionals will not be tolerated.
Violators would also have to pay double the cost of damage of property.
"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. An ordinance has been brought in, it'll be implemented after President's sanction," he said.
The ordinance would help protect healthcare service personnel and their living or working premises against violence.
In the meantime, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has called off its proposed 'White alert' and 'Black day' protests scheduled on April 22 and 23 following a meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah through video conference on Wednesday.
The doctors' body has been demanding that the Centre bring a law to protect healthcare workers from rising attacks at a time when they are battling COVID-19.