Prelims Level
Mains Level
Prelims Syllabus : Polity & Governance Mains Syllabus : Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, Evolution, Features, Amendments, Significant Provisions and Basic Structure.

Why in News?

  • Delhi and many other states took the Centre’s advice to enforce a full lockdown in districts to contain the spread of COVID-19 by imposing Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.

Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897:

  • 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.

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 public servant).
  • Section 188, which comes under the Code’s Chapter X, ‘Of Contempt of the Lawful

Authority of Public Servants’, 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 act, or to take certain order with certain property in his possession or under his management, disobeys such direction,
  • shall, if such disobedience causes or tends to cause obstruction, annoyance or injury, or risk of obstruction, annoyance or injury, to any persons lawfully employed, 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;
  • and if such disobedience causes or tends to cause danger to human life, health or safety, or causes or tends to cause a riot or affray, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.

What happens if you Violate the Lockdown Orders?

  • Under Section 188, there two offences:
  • Disobedience to an order lawfully promulgated by a public servant, If such disobedience causes obstruction, annoyance or injury to persons lawfully employed.
  • Punishment: Simple Imprisonment for 1 month or fine of Rs 200 or both
  • If such disobedience causes danger to human life, health or safety, etc.
  • Punishment: Simple Imprisonment for 6 months or fine of Rs 1000 or both
  • According to the First Schedule of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), 1973, both offences are cognizable, bailable, and can be tried by any magistrate

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