After the Janata Curfew, Delhi and many other states took the Centre’s advice to enforce a full lockdown in districts to contain the spread of COVID-19.
- The orders issued to curb the spread of the coronavirus have been framed under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, which lays down punishment as per Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, for flouting such orders - leading to imprisonment of up to 6 months or fine up to Rs 1000 or both.
- In the past, the Act has been routinely enforced across the country for dealing with outbreaks of diseases such as swine flu, dengue, and cholera. Its penal provisions are currently being invoked by states to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
What is Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code?
- Section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897: Provides penalties for disobeying any regulation or order made under the Act. These are according to Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant).
- Section 188, reads:
- Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant - Whoever, knowing that, by an order promulgated by a public servant lawfully empowered to promulgate such order, he is directed to abstain from a certain actt, disobeys such direction,
shall, if such disobedience causes or tends to cause obstruction, annoyance or injury, be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both.
- If such disobedience causes or tends to cause danger to human life, health or safety, or causes or tends to cause a riot, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.
Explanation - It is not necessary that the offender should intend to produce harm, or contemplate his disobedience as likely to produce harm. It is sufficient that he knows of the order which he disobeys, and that his disobedience produces, or is likely to produce, harm.
Source: The Indian Express