The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has constituted a 10-member committee to assess the aspects of enacting a central law against attacks on doctors and medical establishments, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday.
The move came after junior doctors at NRS Hospital in Kolkata went on strike on June 11 along with their colleagues across the state after a patient’s family allegedly attacked two interns. Doctors in Delhi, Rajasthan, Assam, Gujarat, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Karnataka and Kerala joined the strike, which was called off June 17.
The committee held its first meeting on Wednesday. The panel comprises representatives from the health ministry, the legal affairs department, hospital administrators, members of Medical Council of India and Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association, and medical superintendents of All India Institute of Medical Sciences and Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in New Delhi.
“In the meeting of the stakeholders, there was a broad consensus that a central law is needed,” Hindustan Times quoted an unidentified senior health ministry official as saying. “The committee will now look into the specific provisions.”
The Indian Medical Association had submitted a draft bill on the matter to Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan last month. The bill proposed a 10-year jail term and Rs 5 lakh fine for violence against doctors.
The Indian Medical Association welcomed the government’s move to set up a committee. “IMA has won the first battle in our struggle against violence,” it said in a statement, reported ANI. The association had launched a four-day nationwide protest following the incident in Kolkata and had written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah on the matter.