The Kerala High Court on Thursday observed that the State is a pioneer in enacting statutes to protect doctors and other healthcare workers..Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas noted that the Kerala Health Service Persons and Health Care Services Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage to Property) Act was enacted in 2012, before the recent pandemic situation highlighted the need for such statutes."The message has to go that doctors cannot be attacked. That is why the statute was created...Kerala is a pioneer in this statute, it is a role model," the judge orally remarked..The Court opined that attacks on doctors cannot be countenanced, no matter what the circumstance, as doctors have many patients under their care and an incident of abuse can affect them as well."You cannot abuse or attack a doctor or a hospital. How will the doctors feel? You are not the only life that he or she is taking care of. There is another patient waiting over there. If you attack the doctors, they will not be able to perform well while taking care of the others under their care," Justice Thomas pointed out. The Court surmised that it was with this in mind that the State legislature enacted the statute which makes even abusing doctors a non-bailable offence. .Justice Thomas put forth an imaginary situation which would put lawyers in the place of doctors."Imagine that a case that you argue ends in dismissal or it ends against you. Then the client starts attacking you. This triggers a continuous process. Once one lawyer's client starts attacking, other lawyers' clients will also start attacking. If it goes unchecked, there will be one lawyer is every case who is going to get attacked. Similarly, doctors are trying their level best," he said..The Court was considering the anticipatory bail plea moved by a man in a case where he allegedly abused doctors and staff, and destroyed the property of a hospital.The man allegedly lashed out because his wife, who had been admitted with a covid negative test, tested positive for the virus after spending just one day at the hospital. However, the Court said that even if there may have been some violation of law, the petitioner had no right to take the law into his own hands."One night you check for covid, you may be negative. But next day morning, you may test positive. this is how it is happening. That doesn't mean that the doctor is negligent," the judge orally remarked.The Court directed the counsel for the concerned hospital to get instructions on the matter and adjourned the case. .The Kerala High Court has taken note of the issue of attacks on doctors since the pandemic took root in 2020, expressing its strong displeasure over the apparent lack of action by authorities in several instances of abuse, often physical, meted out to doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers by patients and their families.Even though the statute has existed since 2012, the state witnessed several instances of such attacks which led a state wide protest in front of the Secretariat with doctors raising the slogan ‘Save the Survivors’.In September 2021, the Court directed the State Government to widely publicise the heavy penalties that would be imposed on offenders under the provisions of the statute, so as to prevent what it termed "health-rage attacks".While there is no central statute to address the issue specifically, after the pandemic started overwhelming India's healthcare system, the Central Government promulgated an Ordinance to amend the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 to make attacks on doctors and healthcare workers a cognizable and non-bailable offence.