Amid rising violence against healthcare professionals, Shashi Tharoor passionately urges the Union health minister to enact legislation safeguarding doctors from harm during their duties. Tharoor’s plea follows the rejection of a proposed Private Members’ Bill, with the health minister citing concerns about potential demands from other professions. Tharoor highlights the urgency by referencing a tragic case where a doctor was allegedly stabbed to death. The minister asserts that existing laws provide sufficient protection, but Tharoor presses for comprehensive legal measures, emphasizing the government’s responsibility towards healthcare professionals.
In a fervent appeal during the Lok Sabha session, Shashi Tharoor implores the Union health minister to address the escalating violence against healthcare professionals. Tharoor’s call for legislation stems from a rejected Private Members’ Bill and the grim reality of a Kerala doctor allegedly murdered while on duty. Despite the minister’s reassurances about existing legal provisions, Tharoor contends that a more robust framework is needed to protect those working in the critical field of healthcare.
The Congress leader revealed that he had previously submitted a Private Members’ Bill proposing protection for doctors, only to face rejection from the health minister. According to Tharoor, the rejection was grounded in the minister’s concern that such legislation might prompt other professions, like chartered accountants, to seek similar protection. Tharoor passionately argued that doctors, engaged in life-and-death matters, should not be subjected to risks inherent in their profession. He urged the government to reconsider its stance and introduce legislation offering tangible protection to healthcare professionals, accompanied by financial and legal support for those victimized by violence during their duties.
The urgency of Tharoor’s appeal was punctuated by the shocking incident in May 2023 when a 23-year-old doctor, Dr. Vandana Das, was allegedly stabbed to death by a patient at Kottarakkara Taluk Hospital. The brutal murder ignited widespread outrage, particularly within the healthcare community, prompting calls for stringent legal action against perpetrators of violence targeting doctors and healthcare workers.
In response to Tharoor’s plea, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Mansukh Mandaviya contended that existing laws already provide ample provisions to shield doctors from violence. Mandaviya pointed to measures implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, where legal actions under the Indian Penal Code were initiated against individuals committing violent acts against doctors. Stressing the revered status of doctors in the country, Mandaviya reiterated the importance of ensuring their protection.
Despite the minister’s assurance, Tharoor insisted that the government holds a responsibility towards healthcare professionals and urged Mandaviya to reconsider the policy regarding legislation for their protection. The demand for comprehensive legal safeguards comes at a crucial juncture when the healthcare community faces escalating challenges and risks.
Transitioning to another critical issue, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal found himself at the center of a probe initiated by the Delhi Police crime branch. The investigation revolves around Kejriwal’s allegation that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) attempted to poach seven Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs by offering them ₹25 crore each. A crime branch team, led by the assistant commissioner of police, arrived at Kejriwal’s residence to serve him a notice to join the investigation under Section 41 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
Section 41 of the CrPC empowers the police to summon an individual for interrogation if there is reasonable belief that their cooperation is essential to establish the truth behind the allegations. The notice was met with resistance from Kejriwal’s office, claiming readiness to accept it but alleging that the police were unwilling to provide an acknowledgment for the received notice. Officials from the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) accused the police of attempting to tarnish Kejriwal’s image by bringing media personnel to the notice-serving process.
The political developments surrounding Kejriwal’s allegations and the subsequent police notice add another layer of complexity to the already intricate landscape of Indian politics. As these events unfold, they underscore the challenges and controversies that often accompany the intersection of political discourse and legal investigations.
The intersection of healthcare, legislation, and politics intensifies as Shashi Tharoor advocates for comprehensive laws shielding healthcare professionals from violence. Despite the health minister’s claim that current provisions suffice, Tharoor emphasizes the gravity of the situation, urging the government to reconsider its stance. As the healthcare community grapples with mounting challenges, the call for tangible legal safeguards gains significance, signaling the need for a nuanced approach to ensure the safety and well-being of those on the frontlines.