Deben Dutta

Days after a 73-year-old doctor died after mob assault at a tea estate in Jorhat district of Assam, the health ministry has come up with a draft bill that proposes a maximum jail term of ten years and a maximum fine of Rs 10 lakh for people who assault doctors on duty.

The draft bill named as the Healthcare Service Personnel and Clinical Establishments (Prohibition of violence and damage to property) Bill, 2019 has been made public on Monday.

Also read: Candlelight vigil by Manipur doctors protesting Assam doctor killing case

The health ministry has sought suggestions and comments from the public for ways of improving the draft bill.

According to the draft bill, if a person is convicted for assaulting a doctor, the minimum punishment he/she will face is a jail term of six months and a fine of Rs 50000.

However, the punishment level will be decided in accordance with the nature of the offence as per the draft bill.

The draft bill seeks to make assaulting doctors a cognizable and non-bailable offence.

Moreover, a person responsible for vandalizing the premises of a hospital will also be severely punished.

As per the draft bill, the person charged with damaging hospital property will have to pay twice the amount of fair market value of the damaged property.

There have been several incidents on assault of doctors over the past few months.

The recent incident of a senior doctor beaten to death by the workers of Teok Tea Estate in Assam’s Jorhat district has created a furore in the state.

The workers had beaten up 73-year-old resident doctor Deven Dutta for allegedly being absent from duty and blaming him for the death of a casual worker of Teok Tea Estate.

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