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A draft central legislation, seeking to penalize those assaulting doctors and other healthcare professionals with imprisonment of up to 10 years and fine of INR 2-10 lakhs, has been stalled by the Ministry of Home Affairs, as per the New Indian Express report.
The proposed Bill, prepared at the behest of Union Health Minister, was set to go the Union Cabinet soon but the MHA has rejected it saying that no central legislation can be brought to protect the practitioners of one specific profession.
However, this reason is not based on merit as most states have a similar law for the doctors. Also, the inter-ministerial committee during my time of HSG and National president had representatives from Home Ministry which never raised this issue.
The Union Law Ministry had already given a go-ahead to the draft Bill. But now the MHA has red-flagged it and we will be forced to junk it.
It was put out in the public domain for feedback only after the Law Ministry’s approval.
I am personally not surprised on this move as the present government had used fake pretense to break the strike by saying we will bring the act and that doctors will be out of CPA but that also never happened. Let us wait for the reaction of the IMA central council two weeks from now. If the government was serious about their promise, the ministry would have done it immediately after the inter-ministerial recommendations in 2015-17 period.
Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri Awardee
President Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania (CMAAO)
Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications
President Heart Care Foundation of India
Past National President IMA