COVID-19 warriors: The ordinance brought by the Yogi Adityanath government prescribes stringent punishment for attacks on healthcare workers.
Uttar Pradesh Corona Update: Taking a stern view of the attacks against health workers, police personnel and sanitation workers working at the frontline of the state’s fight against coronavirus, the Uttar Pradesh government on Wednesday promulgated an ordinance to introduce harsher punishments for those found guilty of such crimes. Cleared by the state Cabinet on Wednesday, the Uttar Pradesh Public Health and Epidemic Disease Control Ordinance, 2020, provides for a maximum punishment of life term if “death be caused by intentional (COVID-19) affliction”.
While Section 24 of the ordinance on “punishment for intentional affliction” provides for rigorous imprisonment of 2-5 years for any person found guilty of “intentionally” infecting another person with a contagious disease, Section 26 further prescribes rigorous imprisonment for a minimum of seven years “but may extend to imprisonment for life”. It also provides for punishment by way of a fine ranging from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.
The harsher measures under Section 26 of the ordinance apply to those found guilty of causing “death by affliction under Sections 24 and 25”. Section 25 defines “mass affliction” as infecting five or more persons.
The ordinance, which is yet to receive the assent of the Governor, was necessitated in view of the repeated attacks on health workers, doctors and police personnel on coronavirus duty in several cities across the state. The Centre too recently promulgated the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) ordinance, 2020, that made attacks on doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers a non-bailable offence punishable by up to seven years in prison.
The ordinance brought by the Yogi Adityanath government also prescribes stringent punishment for attacks on healthcare workers, including punishment between six months and 7 years, and fine ranging from 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh for assault or misbehaviour with health workers, paramedical staff, police personnel, sanitation workers or any corona warrior deployed by the government, state Finance minister Suresh Khanna told reporters.
The ordinance also proposes punishments for those who spit on corona warriors, throw filth on them, violate isolation norms during quarantine or incite people to attack or misbehave with corona warriors. “There will be provision for imprisonment for 2-5 years, and fine of Rs 50,000-2 lakh for this,” Khanna said.