Coronavirus: The Centre has directed states and UTs to take strict action those violating the lockdown orders.
A total of 32 states and Union Territories have declared a complete lockdown so far in the wake of coronavirus outbreak. These states and UTs cover 560 districts in the country. Despite the orders being conveyed to the public from the Prime Minister as well as chief ministers of the respective states, there has been a concern over some people not taking the directions and appeals as seriously as they should. The government has once again appealed to the people to take the lockdown seriously and some have also announced curfews drawing powers from relevant sections of law.
The Centre, as a reactionary measure, has directed states and UTs to take strict action against those violating the lockdown orders. These orders have been framed under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897. The law has a provision of punishment as per Section 188 of the IPC, 1860. Those flouting restrictions could be jailed for six months or fine up to Rs 1000 or both.
What is Section 188 of IPC (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant)
According to Section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, a violator invites penalties for disobeying any regulation or order made under the law. It deals with two offences:
First, a person who disobeys an order issued by a public servant will invite punitive action. It has a provision of imprisonment upto one month ot fine of Rs 2000 or both.
Second, if such disobedience causes danger to human life, health or safety, etc, it has a provision of jail for 6 months or Rs 1000 fine or both.
Both offences are cognizable, bailable and can be tried by any magistrate.
Besides Section 188 of the IPC, violators could also be booked under the following Sections of the IPC:
Section 269 of IPC
This section deals with cases where a person commits a negligent act which could spread an infectious disease and thus causing dangerous to life of others. It has a provision of imprisonment for 6 months or fine or both. Offences under this Section are cognizable and bailable.
Section 270 of IPC
It deals with an aggravated form of the offence mentioned under Section 269. A violator could be jailed for two years or fine or both. Offences under this Section are cognizable and bailable.
Section 271 of IPC
This section deals with a person who knowingly disobeys any rue made with the object of isolating places where an infectious disease prevail from other places. It has a provision of of jail term for 6 months or fine or both. Offences under this section are non-cognizable.