The Centre has removed ‘healthcare’ from the list of services specifically mentioned in the draft Consumer Protection Bill, according to a media report on Tuesday.
The move is seen as an attempt to assuage apprehensions by the medical fraternity that the law will be used adversely against it and the doctors’ fear of litigation will affect treatment, according to a report in The Times of India.
#‘No Need For Concern’
Officials, however, said the change will not prevent aggrieved persons from approaching consumer forums for medical negligence or deficiency in health services. “The Bill states that all goods and services will be covered under the proposed law and hence no provision to protect consumers has been diluted. For all practical purposes, this will include healthcare as well,” an official privy to the amendment told TOI.
#Why The Tweak?
Sources said the Cabinet has approved the “technical amendment” in the proposed law to ensure that the Bill passes smoothly in Rajya Sabha, where it was stalled during the first Narendra Modi government and finally lapsed.
A Supreme Court judgment in 1995 clearly stated that medical services to patients, for which fees are charged, come under the purview of the Consumer Protection Act. So taking out healthcare from the proposed Consumer Protection Bill won’t be legally tenable, sources said.