Lockdown: Legal Provisions

The Home Ministry has said that persons violating the containment measures will be liable to be punished under provisions of the Disaster Management Act 2005, besides Section 188 IPC. A look at these and related provisions:




For disobedience

  • Section 188 IPC deals with those disobeying an order passed by a public servant, and provides for imprisonment ranging from one to six months.

  • For those violating orders passed under the Epidemic Diseases Act, Section 188 IPC is the provision under which punishment is awarded.

  • Section 51 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 provides for punishment for two kinds of offences: obstructing any officer authorised by any disaster management authority for discharge of a function; and refusing to comply with any direction given by the authorities under the Act.

For spreading fear

  • Section 505 IPC provides for imprisonment of three years or fine, or both, for those who publish or circulate anything which is likely to cause fear or alarm.

  • Section 54 of the Disaster Management Act provides for imprisonment, extending to one year, of those who make or circulate a false alarm or warning regarding a disaster or its severity or magnitude.

For false claim to aid

  • Under Section 52, Disaster Management Act, whoever makes a false claim for obtaining “any relief, assistance, repair, reconstruction or other benefits” from any official authority can be sentenced to a maximum of two years imprisonment and a fine will be imposed on the person.

For refusing to do duties

  • In case of refusal or withdrawal of any officer who has been tasked with any duty under the Act, the officer can be sentenced to imprisonment extending to one year.

  • A case cannot be initiated without the explicit sanction from the state or central government. 

Important Info : Legal shield?

  • For any offence under the Disaster Management Act, a court will take cognisance only if the complaint is filed by the national or state or district authority, or the central or state government. The Act protects government officers and employees from any legal process for actions they took “in good faith”.

  • Under the Epidemic Diseases Act too, no suit or other legal proceedings can lie against any person for anything done or intended to be done under good faith. 

Source : Indian Express

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