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Govt agrees to revise new Criminal Code as per medical professionals’ demand

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KATHMANDU — The government has agreed to revise the newly enforced Criminal Code as per the demand of medical professionals who were on strike demanding to amend the law.

The Ministry of Health and Population has agreed to amend controversial provisions of the new penal code and send them to the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs tomorrow before they are tabled in the Parliament for approval.

After five-point agreement with the government on Monday on amending the provisions of the Criminal Code relating to medical negligence and recklessness by doctors, the Nepal Medical Association has postponed its phase-wise protests by a week.

The Health Ministry, during talks with NMA and Nepal Medical Council representatives agreed to fulfil the demands of medical professionals.

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The government, in the five-point agreement, has pledged to amend sub-clause 2 of Clause 230 that allows non-licensed medical professionals to treat patients.

The NMA has said Sections 230 to 239 of the new Criminal Code are ‘controversial’ and are aimed at criminalising acts of health professionals, such as sending doctors behind the bars, in case of death of patients.

Both the parties reached an agreement late Monday evening following a three-hour long discussion, over the contested provisions of the Code.

The NMA has demanded revision to the provision to suit the changed context where doctors and health workers are available across Nepal.

According to the agitating doctors, the existing provisions would put the lives of patients at risk if they were treated by non-licensed medical professionals.

As per the proposed amendment, doctors will not have to wait for the consent of patients or their family members, exclusively during natural disasters, road accidents and various plagues.

The proposed amendments also include two additional provisions under Clause 239. Doctors will now be subjected to compensation and jail term only after an investigation finds them guilty. The existing provision grants powers to arrest the doctors prior to any investigation.

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The second provision under Clause 239 also includes ‘jail without bail’ for those accused of attacking doctors and health service facilities.

Sub-clause 1 of Clause 240, which allowed the victim’s family to file a case against the medical personnel involved in the death of a patient without the time limit, will also be amended.

The victim’s family will now have to file a case within six months of the incident.

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Massive fire guts property worth millions in Itahari

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ITAHARI- Goods, raw materials and equipments worth over Rs 20 million were gutted when a fire broke out at the Laxmi Foam Industry at Khanar of Itahari Sub-metropolitan City-10 in Sunsari district this morning.

It is said the fire suddenly broke out from the warehouse area of the industry where the ready-made goods are stored. Police have speculated that the fire started at 4 am when the industry had already closed and there were no workers inside.

The industry is owned by Bhanu Tibadewala. According the Shankar Thakur, the manager at the industry, the raw materials of doormat and important machinery at the industry have also been damaged in the inferno.

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Nepal Army, the Armed Police Force and the Nepal Police personnel as well as the Itahari fire brigade made attempts to douse the fire after some time it started.

Fire trucks from Dharan, Inaruwa, Biratnagar, Duhabi and Sundarharaincha were immediately called into service thereby bringing the huge inferno under control and preventing further damage, said Shiva Kumar Shrestha, Deputy Superintendent of Police at the Area Police Office Itahari.

He said the cause of the fire is not yet ascertained and the extent of damage is being assessed.

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