HomeCentral GovernmentShashi Tharoor introduces bill to protect doctors in Lok Sabha

Shashi Tharoor introduces bill to protect doctors in Lok Sabha

As a tribute names the bill as “Vandana Das Act”

New Delhi : Shashi Tharoor, the Congress Member of Parliament form Thiruvananthapuram introduced a private member in Lok Sabha called The Healthcare Personnel and Healthcare Institutions (Prohibition of Violence and Damage to Property) Bill, 2023. Tharoor added that if the bill is passed, he would like it to be called the Dr Vandana Das Act — named after the young doctor who was murdered by a patient at a government hospital in Kerala’s Kollam district, earlier this year.

The introduced bill read, “While there is no central data on the number of assault cases against healthcare personnel or health facilities, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) estimates that 75 percent of all doctors face some form of verbal and physical abuse during their service, with cases of violence severely underreported. International organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Council of Nurses (ICN), have also recognized the issue of violence against healthcare workers as a global concern.”

“The legislative lacunae only further complicate our ability to address this challenge. Currently, no national-level law, including the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 and Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973 comprehensively and categorically addresses the issue. State Laws vary: the existing laws are weak in their implementation, vary a lot and lack scope to protect all Healthcare personnel,” it added.

Lastly, the MP, in the bill, stressed, “Her death (Dr. Vandana Das death) must not just serve as a reminder of the consequences of our inaction but become a call to action, particularly towards ensuring that the legislative lacuna is addressed so that no doctor has to worry about their own safety in the line of duty.” Finally, Shashi Tharoor in the bill concludes “This, therefore, necessitates a comprehensive central legislation to put a check on such violence at the earliest, to promote a safe work environment for doctors and other healthcare personnel and to serve as a model for state laws.” 

Objective of the Introduced BillTo deter the offenders and counter acts of violence against medical professionals and on healthcare institutions.To fill the legal gap as there is no law at the national level to address the violence against the healthcare professionals and healthcare institutions. Highlights of the Introduced Bill The Bill makes acts of violence against healthcare personnel and on healthcare institutions a cognisable and non-bailable offence.The provisions of the Act shall not only apply to physical assault but also include verbal offence.The protection of the bill would extend not only to doctors but to paramedical students, workers, administrative staff, and ASHA workers as well.The Bill sets a definitive time frame for the investigation and sentencing of cases registered under the Act.The Bill proposes designated special courts to be established in every district to oversee cases falling under this category.