The Maharashtra government has told the Bombay High Court that the existing legal provisions, including the 2010 Maharashtra Medicare Service Persons Act, are enough to deal with rising incidents of violence against doctors and medical staff.
The state government in an affidavit filed in the court on Monday submitted that the above Act and provisions of the Indian Penal Code were enforced in cases of relatives or acquaintances of patients assaulting doctors and hospital staff.
The state submitted that at least 302 cases of assault on healthcare professionals had been registered across the state between January 2017 and March 2021 and it was stated that 231 cases of these were alone registered in 2020.
The state was responding to public interest litigation (PIL) filed by one Dr. Rajeev Joshi seeking judicial intervention to stop the violence against healthcare professionals. According to the PIL, Maharashtra witnesses’ maximum number of such instances of violence, reported the PTI.
According to the petitioner’s claim, he said that the state government had failed to implement existing legal provisions, including the 2010 Act, to stop such cases.
However, in its affidavit filed through Kishor Bhalerao, deputy secretary, state home department, the state government submitted that it took prompt action whenever such cases were reported.
It also informed that 1,088 security guards of the Maharashtra State Security Corporation had been deployed at all government medical college-affiliated hospitals in the state.
Over 500 regular security guards, apart from this were also deployed at these hospitals said the state affidavit.
According to the affidavit, the 2010 Act attracts imprisonment for three years and a fine of Rs 50,000 for people convicted for assaults or attacks on the medical staff, for damaging hospital property, etc.
The government, however, said that while it believed the existing legal provisions were adequate, it was open to forming a committee to look into the shortcomings of the existing Act, if the court so directed. Later this month the high court will hear the matter.