Epidemic disease amendment bill

The Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill, 2020

INTRODUCED BY

Introduced by

Dr Harsh Vardhan

Ministry of Health

SYNOPSIS

The bill is an amendment to Epidemic act 1897, to provide protection to health care service personnel, their living premises as well as their workplaces against any violence during the course of a pandemic.

HIGHLIGHT

Salient Points ()

Zero Tolerance policy for violence

The bill proposes to ensure zero-tolerance to any form of violence against healthcare service personnel and damage to property.

Criminal Proceedings

Criminal charges would be placed against an individual/group for any damage done to clinical establishments, quarantine and isolation facilities of patients, mobile medical units or any other property associated with healthcare personnel during a pandemic

Penalty for Violence

Rs 50,000 - Rs 2,00,000 penality would be imposed against any individual if found involved in any kind of violence.

Legal trial

The charges have to be investigated within 30 days of registration of the case. And the trial has to be completed within a year.

BACKGROUND

The government issued an ordinance to amend an age-old i.e. 123 years legislation act, due to increasing attack on health care workers in current COVID-19 pandemic situation.  

Background Basics ()

Increasing cases of violence were reported on healthcare workers treating covid patients  

The healthcare workers were treated with stigma and not allowed to enter their houses or residential societies. They were beaten up and chased away when they went out for surveillance

KEY STATS

Key Stats ()

Doctors face violence - from verbal abuse, verbal threats or aggressive gestures in majority of cases to physical and property damage

75%

Healthcare workers became covid positive while treating its patients

68,000

Doctors lost their lives while serving corona patients

500

Jail term for attacking healthcare workers during pandemic situation

5-7 years

TIMELINES

14 Sep 2020
19 Sep 2020
21 Sep 2020

WHY (as per the govt)

Salient Points ()

To protect healthcare workers, from any kind of attack ,who are working round the clock to take care of patients

To give a strong message to individuals who are involved in any kind of violence against healthcare/medical workers during this pandemic.

Healthcare workers deserves respect and dignity

WHY NOT (as per opposition)

Salient Points ()

The bill is unconstitutional and the centre cannot impose their will on its states. 

The states should be authorized to take decisions to handle this and not center TMC leader

The bill is brought is in haste as it has many legal flaws - Adhir Chowdhury

The offender is presumed to be guilty and it is a complete deviation from the principles of the country’s criminal law.

 

It can be misused and twisted by healthcare workers for their/hospitals benefit - Ram Gopal Yadav

MEDIA SAYING

VIDEOS

Videos ()

FAQs

An epidemic occurs when an infectious disease spreads rapidly to many people (more than expected).

SARS – which occurred in 2003 and took 800 lives worldwide.

The healthcare service personnel include public and clinical healthcare service providers such as doctors, nurses, paramedical workers and community health workers; any other persons empowered under the act to take measures to prevent the outbreak of the disease or spread thereof; and any persons declared as such by the state government, by notification in the official gazette.

  • The act aims to provide “for the better prevention of the spread of Dangerous Epidemic Diseases.”
  • The act empowers state governments/UTs to take special measures and formulate regulations for containing the outbreak.
  • It provides penalties for disobeying any regulation or order made under the Act. These are according to section 188 of the Indian Penal Code.
  • It gives legal protection to the implementing officers acting under the Act.

In 2009, during the outbreak of Swine Flu in Pune. The powers of this act were implemented to control the outbreak. 

Open screening centres were organized in civic hospitals across the city.

Under this act, swine flu was declared as a notifiable disease

ORIGINAL BILL

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