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Kerala High Court orders to register FIR in one hour in cases of attack on doctors

Kochi : A division bench of Justice Devan Ramchandra and Justice Kauser Edappagthof the High Court of Kerala recently directed the State to make sure that in case of attacks on medical care professionals, the FIR needs to be registered within 1 hour of receiving a complaint alleging such attack. The bench said,“As a first step, in addition to the earlier directions, we are of the firm view that every incident of attack on the Doctor or a Healthcare Professional, including any other staff of the Hospital – be that Security or other – will have to be taken cognizance of by the Station House Officer of the concerned Police Station not later than one hour from the time on which it is reported to him. This can be under the Special Law applicable, or under the Indian Penal Code; but an FIR will need to be registered within the aforesaid time frame, which alone will ensure that the perpetrator/s understands that action is swift and quick.”

The Court was considering a matter pertaining to recurring instances of violence against doctors and healthcare professionals.The Court was informed by the counsel for health professionals that for about 12 months period from June 2021, the number of attacks recorded is in excess of 138 or so. The Court was shocked at the revelation. It said that the court had been making orders in the past “hoping that the official system would function faultlessly and that the citizens would also be aware of the imperative requirement to treat the Healthcare System with the respect it deserves”.Court said that it seems that without a sense of fear of law, nothing will change.  The Court further noted the fact that the Government Hospital System is overwhelmed and that the number of patients is escalating by the day, which is in common knowledge. Unless the Doctors and Healthcare Professionals are able to act in peace and calm, it would become impossible for the system itself to sustain.