COVID-19: Govt brings in ordinance to tackle attacks on healthcare professionals

The central government has brought in an ordinance under which any person who attacks a health worker who is treating Covid-19 cases can be jailed for a maximum of seven years.

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New Delhi: The central government on 22nd April brought in an ordinance under which any person who attacks a health worker who is treating COVID-19 cases can be jailed for a maximum of seven years. The ordinance was brought in to amend the century-old Epidemic Act.

Under the new law, attack on health workers is a cognizable and non-bailable offence. For timely action, the ordinance stipulates a period of 30 days under which investigation on the attack against health workers must be completed. It says the verdict in such cases should be delivered within one year.

The ordinance awards the punishments such as Jail term of 3 months to 5 years and fine of Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh in normal cases. In serious cases, the jail term is 6 months to 7 years whereas fine is Rs 1 lakh to Rs 7 lakh.

In case the damage is caused to the vehicles and clinics of health workers, the guilty will be made to pay a fine which is double the market rate of the property damaged.

This move came after the Indian Medical Association demanded the Centre to bring in a law on an urgent basis to protect medical professionals from attacks while being on duty.