Ordinance Amending Hospital Protection Act
A measure to amend the Kerala Healthcare Service Persons and Healthcare Service Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage to Property) Act, 2012, was approved by the Kerala Cabinet on Wednesday. The measure broadens the definition of healthcare workers and toughens penalties for those who attack hospitals.
Points to Ponder:
- Approval of the Amendment: To address the issues linked to violence against hospitals and healthcare workers, the Kerala Cabinet has adopted an Ordinance to alter the 2012 Act.
- Expanded Scope: A wider range of professionals who offer healthcare services are now included in the definition of healthcare workers.
- Strict Penal Provisions: The amendment adds strict sanctions for those who assault hospitals or medical personnel.
- Offenders who attempt to perform violent acts or incite others to do so risk receiving prison sentences of up to five years and fines of up to two lakh rupees.
- Serious physical assault on medical personnel will result in prison sentences of one to seven years and penalties of one to five million rupees.
- Focus on Conviction: The amendment seeks to address a long-standing problem by increasing the conviction rate for acts of violence against medical personnel and hospitals.
- Timeline for Investigation: For cases filed under the Act, a specific deadline has been set for the conclusion of investigations.
- Investigations must be finished within 60 days of the date the First Information Report (FIR) was registered.
- Trial Time Limit: The amendment also specifies a trial time limit for cases filed under the Act.
- The trial should be finished in a year to ensure a quick legal process.
- Special Courts: To handle matters involving the 2012 Act, the government will name a special court in each district after consulting with the High Court.
- Addressing gaps: The government asserts that by making these revisions, it has attempted to close the gaps in the 2012 Act.
- Amendment’s impetus: The amendment gained traction following the terrible incident in which a young house surgeon was murdered at a Taluk hospital by a patient. This incident made it clear that there is a pressing need to revise the Act and deal with the problem of violence against healthcare personnel.