New Delhi: The committee formed to mull Central legislation over assault on doctors and clinical establishments will hold its first meeting on Wednesday, July 10.

According to ANI, the Department of Health & Family Welfare of the Centre has said, “The first meeting of the committee formed to examine the pros and cons of bringing out a Central Legislation against assault on doctors on duty & clinical establishments will be held on July 10.”

The Government action came last month amid protests by the medical fraternity across the country over violence against doctors in hospitals. Then, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had assured that the Government will “revisit” the issue of drafting a central law regarding the safety of medicos at healthcare facilities.

Vardhan said he had already requested all chief ministers to consider enacting specific legislation for protecting doctors and medical professionals from any form of violence, along with suggesting a model law proposed by the Indian Medical Association (IMA). “We will revisit this problem and see if we can do something at the central level about drafting any such law. It was visited earlier by our law people,” he had said.

The Union minister had insisted that while it was not a Centre versus state issue, the safety of doctors was also not debatable.  “Doctors should not be beaten by anybody in the premises of the hospital or outside and there is no difference of opinion on this,” he had said.

An Inter-Ministerial Committee constituted by the ministry had, in its report recommended that the Health ministry shall suggest all state governments which do not have specific legislation to protect doctors and health professionals to consider one to strictly enforce the provisions of special legislation wherever they exist or enforce the IPC/CrPC provisions with vigour.

“The IMA has raised this concern many a times. Since ‘police’ and ‘public order’ are state subjects, the Government of India on many occasions has drawn attention of state governments for an urgent need for a robust criminal justice system with emphasis on prevention and control of crime,” Vardhan had said.

Doctors across the country had sat on protest in June in support of their striking colleagues in West Bengal and have been demanding a comprehensive Central law for their protection.

The IMA had also written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah demanding enactment of a Central law to check violence against healthcare workers in hospitals. Sporadic incidents of violence against doctors on duty have been reported from Delhi hospitals also. Only a day ago, doctors Maulana Azad Medical College, LNJP Hospital and G B Pant and Guru Nanak Eye Centre had called for a strike after an on-duty doctor in the emergency ward was assaulted allegedly by a patient’s relative.