SECTION 188 IPC
25, Mar 2020
Prelims level : Polity & Governance Mains level : 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