Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill, 2020

  • India passed a legislation aimed at protecting healthcare workers fighting the Covid-19 disease outbreak in the country by criminalising attacks on medical workers, resulting into imprisonment for up to five years.
  • The previous ordinance amended the act dating to 1897 which protected healthcare service personnel and property, including their living and working premises against violence during epidemics.
  • Any healthcare worker who has suffered damage to their property such as
    • Clinical establishment, any facility for quarantine and isolations of patients, mobile medical units or any other property related to healthcare service personnel who have direct interest due to the epidemic can invoke the provisions of this act.
  • The act is applicable to healthcare service personnel from 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.
  • Once a crime is legally registered, the offence will be investigated by an officer of the rank of inspector within a period of 30 days and the trial has to be completed within a year, unless extended by the court.
  • Anyone found guilty of such acts of violence against healthcare personnel will be punishable with an imprisonment for a term of three months to five years, and with a fine of Rs 50,000 to Rs 2,00,000.