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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Jail term if you assault docs in Karnataka Too

Belgaum: Coming to the rescue of doctors and hospitals which face the ire of kin of patients when something goes wrong during medical treatment, the state government has come up with a security cover for them.

The legislation titled the Karnataka Prohibition of Violence Against Medicare Service Personnel and Damage to Property in Medicare Services Institution Bill, 2009, was tabled in the assembly on Wednesday.

The legislation empowers the law to imprison the offenders for three years.

This was necessitated following increase in attacks on doctors and medical staff. The medical professionals association recently protested demanding that the government ensure protection to them through stringent law.

Referring to the attack on hospitals due to the scare created by rumour mongers on death of children after polio drops were administered, health minister B Sriramulu said: "Government want to create an atmosphere where doctors can perform their duties sincerely. As it is the government's duty to protect the hospital property and the medicare staff, a Bill has been prepared. Severe action will be taken against the persons indulging in attack on the doctors,'' he said.

Karnataka is the fifth state after Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Haryana to come out with a law exclusively to deal with such violence.

Following are the provisions of the Bill:

* Medicare services: Registered medical practioners, nurses, medical and nursing students and para medical workers.

* Offender: Any person who either by himself or as a member or as a leader or of a group or organization commits or attempts to commit or abet or incite violence.

* Penalty: Imprisonment for a period of three years with fine which may extend to Rs 50,000. It will be a cognizable and non-bailable offence.

* Recovery of loss for damage caused to property: In addition to punishment, offender should also pay a penalty twice the amount of purchase price of medical equipment damaged and loss caused to property as determined by court. If offender does not pay penal amount, it will be recovered as land arrears.

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