Cabinet approval for Hospital Protection Act Amendment Ordinance

Cabinet has approved promulgating an Ordinance to amend the Kerala Healthcare Service Persons and Healthcare Service Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage to Property) Act, 2012.

The current Act covers the registered (including temporary registered) medical practitioners, nurses, medical students, nursing students and paramedics, working in healthcare service institutions.

The new Ordinance includes paramedical students too under the scope of coverage.

The paramedical workers, security guards, managerial staff, ambulance drivers and helpers working in healthcare institutions as well as the health workers as notified in the government gazette from time to time will also be covered under the Ordinance.

Any attack or attempt for attack or persuasion for attack on health workers shall attract imprisonment, with a minimum tenure of 6 months and upto a maximum tenure of 5 years and a penalty ranging from Rs.50000/- to Rs. 2 lakhs.

Incurring serious injury to a health worker would attract imprisonment upto one to seven years and a penalty ranging from Rs. One lakh to Five lakhs.

Inquiry into the cases registered under the Act will be conducted by an officer not less than the rank of an Inspector. The inquiry into the cases will be completed within 60 days from the date of registration of the cases. The trial of the cases will be completed in a time bound manner. Special courts will be designated in all districts to ensure quick trials.

The Chief Minister had ordered to examine the scope of bringing amendment to the Act as it is observed that adequate punishment is not given to those who commit attack on health workers.

Accordingly, the directive to take immediate steps to amend the Act and bring the Ordinance was taken in the higher level meeting conducted after the killing of Dr.Vandana Das.

A Committee consists of representatives of Health, Home and Law departments as well as Health and Science universities, was entrusted with the responsibility of preparing the Ordinance.