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Epidemic Diseases Amendment Bill, 2020 passed by the Assembly amid COVID 19 Pandemic

calendar12 Oct, 2020
timeReading Time: 3 Minutes
Epidemic Diseases Amendment Bill, 2020

On Sep 21, 2020, the Lok Sabha passes the Epidemic Diseases Amendment Bill, 2020 to provide protection to the doctors and health workers against the culprits causing a nuisance to them during the COVID 19 pandemic. The bill incorporated the provision for imprisonment for up to 5 years for those who indulge in physical violence against the doctors. 

Epidemic Diseases Amendment Bill

Definitions and Protection for Healthcare Personnel and Damage to Property

Epidemic Diseases Amendment Bill, 2020 amends the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 to safeguard the life of doctors or individuals related to health care services. The bill also renders protection to the premises where the aforesaid personal are supposed to provide the services. The new legislation was enacted to protect the personals working in the health care sector such as doctors, paramedical workers, health workers, nurses, and other individuals responsible for undertaking measures to prevent the spread of the disease. 

If any person founds to be guilty of creating a nuisance against the health care personals or their respective premises/workplaces, the panel provision can be provoked. A bill empowers the concerned authority to take action against the defaulter by imposing penalties that could range from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2, 00,000. Based on the intensity of the crime, the defaulters can even confront the imprisonment for the terms of 3 months to 5 years. 

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Highlight of the Bill – The Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) ACT, 2020

The given section encloses the key pointers of the aforesaid bill:-

Compensational Protocol

Individuals convicted of crimes under the bill will be accountable for paying compensation to the healthcare personnel. In case of damage to the property, the defaulters will be liable to compensate for the loss by paying twice the amount of market value of the damaged property, as suggested by the judicial body. If the defaulters fail to comply with the aforesaid provision, the amount shall be retrieved as an arrear of land revenue subjected to the Revenue Recovery Act, 1890

Investigational Protocol     

Case registered during a pandemic will only be scrutinized by the Inspector. The investigation must be finished within thirty days from the date of registration of the FIR. 

Trial Protocol

The trial must be concluded within 1 year as per the bill. If that doesn’t happen, the Judge must append the reasons for the delay in pursuant to the status of the case. As per the bill, the extension of the period in such an event has been limited to six months. Meaning- additional six months will be furnished to the authority to conclude the case. Moreover, during such a course of the event, the person will continue to remain in a state of conviction unless the opposite is proved.

Rights to the Central Government

The Act confers the right to the central government to exercise the power to: 

  • Inspect any vessel or ship arriving or leaving at any port
  • Isolate any individual wishes to travel from the port during the course of the pandemic. 

The bill empowers the government to regulate the inspection of any mode of transport, Moreover; the government also reserves the right to regulate the provision related to the detention of any individual intending to use any mode of transport for traveling. 

Conclusion

Epidemic Diseases Amendment Bill, 2020 is rather a much-needed decision that will help doctors or other health workers to operate in a violence-free environment. The inclusion of imprisonment further makes this bill more effective that will eventually decline the rate of violence against the health workers. 

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EPIDEMIC-DISEASES-AMENDMENT-ACT-2020

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