Healthcare Misdemeanour Betwixt Pandemic

“It has always been a mystery to me how a man can feel honored by the humiliation of their fellow beings” -Mahatma Gandhi


Valiant Doctors and the Healthcare workers are striving to combat against the unseen foe. They are toiling day and night to contain this pandemic, conducting door to door visits in infected areas, monitoring patients, and testing people to save their lives. The happening of this very unfortunate event reflects the fact that, despite these efforts, these frontline warriors are subjected to violence and harassment.

While conducting door to door visits in the infected areas, these frontline heroes were subjected to face appalling situations. For instance, residents of some particular area pelted stones on doctors and police officials, which severely injured them[1]. This Inhumanity against our valuable assets is unendurable. It affects their mental health at the same time descends their will to work. As a result, the quality care provided by them could also be compromised. Despite these transgressions being committed against them, they are still giving their compassionate efforts to save the lives of masses. It is the responsibility of the Government to come up with stringent legislation, which criminalizes these violent acts by the offenders.

In this article the author will further underscore that, what are the reasons behind perpetrating these offenses and what measures are being taken up by the Government to safeguard the healthcare workers.

Inhumanity Against doctors and healthcare workers

It is quite unfortunate that those who are defending humanity against this deadly virus are being subjected to atrocity instead of being acknowledged. Since the outbreak, several instances have been reported of the violence. A Surat-based healthcare worker was abused by her apartment residents when she was returning from the hospital. She was also threatened to face grim consequences if she does not vacate the building[2]. Another disturbing event came in the light, in Chennai. Where some people not only attacked the healthcare workers but also opposed the burial of a neurosurgeon, who died of COVID 19 complications.[3]

These warriors not only encountered complexities outside the hospitals but also, came across these troubles within the walls. In Delhi, a woman doctor was abused and assaulted by the patients in the surgical ward. On the same day in Hyderabad, a doctor was allegedly assaulted by the son of a corona patient.[4]


After COVID 19 outbreak, the number of cases of attacks against healthcare workers has surged.  The reason behind this increase being, fear and ignorance among the people. This happened when a large religious congregation was held in Delhi, named Tablighi Jamaat, and some ‘Jamatis’ of this congregation was found to be Corona positive when tested. This incident took the communal color and Muslims were lambasted all over India. This incident increased the fear and stigma in the minds of the public, as a corollary of which, when healthcare workers went to collect samples from individuals related to this congregation, they were attacked.[5]

The second reason is misinformation or disinformation, which means disseminating erroneous messages. Especially the messages which induce fear and stigma in people, like getting infected by virus meant definite death. These messages have been counterproductive at times of spreading awareness in the country.

Third, Failure of trust between the healthcare system and the patient population. Not everyone can afford access to private hospitals since; it is so difficult to bear the high cost of procedures, medication, and hospital stay, which completely depends on the patient’s ability to pay.[6] So, people defied being tested, and if healthcare workers came in their areas they attacked them.

Fourth, people felt suspicious while sharing details, they thought that surveys were related to NRC (National Register of Citizens).[7]

This Inhumanity Against healthcare Workers is Unbearable and Should be Scotched

Despite being appreciated for their altruistic efforts in protecting humanity against this pandemic, these warriors are being subjected to physical violence as well as mental annoyance. These attacks against them are unendurable as they cause a negative impact on health workers’ professional duty As a result, the quality care provided by them could also be compromised.

For the Nation to combat this unseen foe, the safety and well-being of Healthcare workers are paramount. Instead of getting victimized, they deserved to be acknowledged for their efforts, which will further stimulate them to be more efficacious. Also, it is the responsibility of the Government to come up with stringent legislation, which creates deterrence against these heinous crimes.

Measures The Government Took to safeguard Health Care Workers

1. Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020

Though several states have their laws against the violation of rights of Health care workers, such existing laws do not have a wide ambit. Several instances were reported where these healthcare workers not only faced physical cruelty but were also subjected to mental hassle. These existing laws have miserably failed to create deterrence and to prevent these outbreaks of violence.

This ordinance to amend the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 will mainly focus on safeguarding healthcare workers and their property including their living and working premises against violence during epidemics.[8]

Conspectus of Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020

An ‘act of violence’ includes any acts committed against healthcare workers such as harassment impacting living or working conditions, harm, injury, hurt, or danger to life, loss, or damage to the property or documents.[9]

Under this Ordinance Convicted persons will be liable to pay compensation to the healthcare service personnel whom they have hurt. Court will determine the compensation. If that person fails to pay the compensation; the amount will be recovered as an arrear of land revenue under the Revenue Recovery Act, 1890.[10]

Also, this ordinance makes the offenses cognizable and non – bailable. The convicted person will be penalized with imprisonment and in case of causing grievous hurt, imprisonment shall be more rigorous.[11]

2. Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Scheme

The government announced that under this scheme all the medical professionals attending COVID 19 patients will be secured by insurance, which will cover up to 50 lakhs per person.  This insurance applies to frontline healthcare workers, sanitation staff, paramedic staff, and even ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) workers.[12]

3. Appointment of Nodal Officers

The home ministry also directed states to appoint nodal officers that will help in resolving any safety issues related to the functioning of medical professionals and will take measures accordingly under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.[13]

These initiatives by Government will act as a shield for the health care workers to some extent, enabling them to perform their duties fearlessly.


This inhumanity against our valuable assets has seen a sudden increase which not only torments them but also hinders their job motivation. Since this, it is imperative to take immediate action against this violence. The nation requires a law that safeguards as well as creates deterrence so an offender would not commit it.  Though the government has come up with stringent legislation which up to an extent will safeguard these healthcare workers but still there are more issues that the author has identified and needed to be resolved. Furthermore, the government has launched various insurance schemes and policies which secure these frontline warriors as well as their families.

Conclusively, the government should concentrate on making healthcare services more affordable, raising awareness about the disease, and dispelling myths and misconceptions related to it. Also, rather than hurting these frontline heroes people should integrate and hold up with them to win this battle against the unseen foe.

“Remember upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all.”- Alexander the Great

[1]Health Care Workers Attacked As Fears About Coronavirus Takes Hold Of India, Global Voices, ( Apr 2, 2020, 3:54 PM),

[2]Roshini Balaji, How Healthcare Workers Are Putting Their Lives On The Line In The Fight Against Coronavirus, Your Story, (May 1, 2020),

[3]Protection For Protectors : On Safety Of Healthcare Workers, The Hindu, (Apr 24, 2020, 12:05 AM),

[4]Reethu Ravi, Abused, Attacked, Beaten: Frontline Workers Are Risking Their Lives Every Day In India, The Logical Indian, (Apr 19, 2020, 8:31 AM),

[5][5]Protection For Protectors : On Safety Of Healthcare Workers, The Hindu, (Apr 24, 2020, 12:05 AM),

[6]Akshat Agrawal and Shreya Shrivastava, COVID 19: Structural Changes Are Needed To Address Violence Against Healthcare workers, The Wire, (Apr 9, 2020),

[7]Indulekha Aravind, Covid- 19: How healthcare Workers are paying a heavy price in this battle, The Economic Times, (Apr 12, 2020, 10:07 AM),

[8]Promulgation Of Ordinance, To Amend The Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 In The Light Of The Pandemic Situation Of Covid19, Press Information Bureau, (Apr 22, 2020, 10:14 PM),

[9]The Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, PRS Legislative Research,

[10]The Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, PRS Legislative Research,

[11]Ordinance to Amend the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, Insights of India, (Apr 23, 2020),

[12]Roshini Balaji, How Healthcare Workers Are Putting Their Lives On The Line In The Fight Against Coronavirus, Your Story, (May 1, 2020),

[13]ET Bureau, Cabinet Okays Ordinance To Protect Frontline Workers, The Economic Times, (Apr 22, 2020, 11:40 PM),

This article has been written by Amitosh Dubey, 3rd Year Student at Institute of Law, Nirma University, Ahmedabad. My areas of interest are Constitutional Law, Criminal Law and Contracts law. Other than that, I have keen interest towards legal research, legal writing, drafting and formatting. I have several published articles.

Read Also: The Exacerbation of Human Rights Issues And Challenges During Covid-19

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