All rape and acid-attack victims will get free-of-cost treatment, preliminary or advanced, as available, in all government and private hospitals in the state.
The Punjab government has issued the notification finally after the Punjab and Haryana high court had directed it to frame a policy on the lines of Haryana. In the April 24 order, the health department has quoted the Amendment to Section 357 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, that provides for free treatment to the victims.
A committee formed on the Supreme Court orders to implement measures for prompt care and rehabilitation to the victims of acid attack also had recommended free-treatment facility. "The victims of any offence covered under Section 326-A (acid attack) and all sections of rape in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) will get free first aid and later treatment, as available, and the hospital authorities will have to inform the police on receiving these cases," additional secretary for health A Karthik stated in his orders.
The circular says the order is for all government and private hospitals and nursing homes. "The civil surgeons of all district, principals of all medical colleges, and medical superintendents of all health facilities have to pass these instructions down," said additional secretary Karthik.
How it came
In December last year, in response to the order based on a public-interest petition by Poor Patients Relief Society in the Punjab and Haryana court, the state government had decided to form a policy for the free treatment, compensation and rehabilitation of acid-attack victims; to bear all their medical expenses, besides awarding `5 lakh as compensation to the family in case the victim dies.
The government had also proposed for 100% medical reimbursement in all cases requiring plastic surgery.