Rajya Sabha passes the Epidemic Diseases Amendment Bill, 2020

New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha passed the Epidemic Diseases Amendment Bill, 2020 on Saturday.

Speaking in the Upper House, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said that the bill was required to prevent offences against healthcare professionals.

“Many healthcare workers including doctors, paramedics were insulted in some form or the other, due to stigma attached to COVID-19. Centre government acted on this situation found that there was a need for a law, a prohibitory mechanism against such incidents,” Dr Harsh Vardhan said.

He said that the Centre had passed the Ordinance to make hurt of any nature or insulting the medical professionals a cognizable offence.

However, Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Derek O’Brien termed the Bill an attempt to encroach states’ constitutionally assigned functioning.

Speaking at the Rajya Sabha while the discussions on the bill were underway, the TMC MP said that Bengal already had laws to deal with prevention of violence against doctors and healthcare workers.

“You thought of healthcare workers now? Bengal has Medicare Service Prevention of Violence and Damage to Property Act 2009. What happens to it? Bill is an attempt to encroach states’ constitutionally assigned functioning,” O’Brien said.

The TMC leader said that his state had passed the bill for healthcare workers’ safety as far back as in 2009.

“You cannot cross the Constitutional bar, you do your work, and let the Chief Ministers do their work. There are sinister provisions also present in this bill,” he further added.

The Upper House had earlier passed the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (Second Amendment) Bill.

The Monsoon Session of the Parliament commenced on Monday and is slated to end on October 1. 

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