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House friends & foes rap medical bill

Ranchi, Aug. 5: Jharkhand Medical Protection Bill, tabled to protect the medical fraternity by health minister Rajendra Prasad Singh and slated to be passed today, was denounced by MLAs cutting across party lines as being “anti-people” and sent to the select committee of the House for scrutiny.

The government tabled the bill to control the violence unleashed by relatives of patients, especially in case of hospital deaths, with provisions including non-bailable arrest. But, all MLAs called the bill biased, especially as doctors take responsibilities lightly in state-run hubs where the poor go.

CPI(ML) legislator Vinod Singh demanded fresh scrutiny of the bill by the select committee of the House. “Protecting people is the government’s duty. When provisions of penalty exist under IPC, why should a special law to shield doctors be required? It seems the government is trying to make the medical fraternity a special category,” he said.

BJP MLA Uma Shankar Akela termed the bill as “andha kanoon”. JVM leader Pradeep Yadav called it “heavily biased towards doctors”. “Is there a provision in the bill to stop doctors from fleecing patients or dereliction of duty?”

Congress MLAs Rajesh Ranjan and Saurabh Narayan Singh, RJD’s Sanjay Prasad Yadav, MCC’s Arup Chatterjee, JMM’s Mathura Prasad Mahto and TMC’s Bandhu Tirkey supported the Opposition.

The health minister did not get support when he justified the bill on the grounds that it would pave the way for reputable private players to invest in Jharkhand’s medical sector. Bowing before unanimous pressure, he agreed to refer the bill to the select committee and requested Speaker Shashank Shekhar Bhokta to direct the panel to make its recommendation within 15 days.


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