Stringent law shields UP hospitals

Vandals can now be arrested without court warrant, denied bail

People who vandalise medical facilities or thrash hospital doctors in Uttar Pradesh can now be arrested by police faster, without a court-issued warrant, and the culprits would also not get bail, according to a new stringent law.

The guilty can be punished with a maximum imprisonment of three years and a hefty fine, depending upon the cost of damage inflicted by him, an official said.

These provisions are incorporated in the medical protection ordinance that was approved by Governor B L Joshi on Tuesday and came into effect immediately, he said.

Giving more powers to police to tackle such crimes, the ordinance makes attacks on doctors a cognizable offence which would now be non-bailable.

A cognizable offence is one in which police are empowered to register a first information report (FIR), investigate, and arrest an accused without a court-issued warrant. Apart from imprisonment, any person found guilty of vandalism in government and private hospitals can be slapped with a fine equal to double the cost of damage inflicted by him, said an official.

Ensuring safety

The damage to property would be estimated by an expert group, he said. Medical health and family welfare minister Ahmad Hasan said the ordinance was aimed at ensuring the safety of medical staff and public convenience.

It has generally been noticed that after the death of a patient at a medical facility, relatives of the patient go on the rampage, damage hospital property and rough up medical staff, including nurses, ward boys and doctors, said an official.

He said the rioting often triggered strikes by the medical staff, causing inconvenience to public.

The state cabinet, presided over by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, cleared the law May 7.

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