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Penalties for breaking COVID-19 rules

Lockdown is an emergency protocol that prevents people from leaving a given area or place. It means that you must stay where you are and not to exit the place. Under lockdown, the services which are essentials remains continued to serve the people, and all other non-essential services are shut down for a specific period. As there was an increase inthe number of COVID-19 positive cases, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a complete lockdown for a period of 21 days till 14th April 2020. The Officials have also warned all the citizens of India to practice social distancingin order to fight against COVID-19. The Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 has been invoked by the Central and State Governments after being satisfied that the state/country is threatened with the spread of COVID-19 virus. The regulations and measures during the period of lockdown have been prescribed by a notification.

Action taken by the police officers

Following are the actions taken by the police officers to ensure that people follow the lockdown (COVID-19) rules:

  • In Nagaon District of Assam, a police officer wields his baton against a man who was found breaking the lockdown rulesafter India ordered a 21-day nationwide lockdown to limit the spreading of coronavirus disease.
  • The people who were not obeying the lockdownrules were made to do sit-ups and body rolls while police beat them with cane sticks as a punishment for violating the lockdown rules.
  • In the old quarters of Delhi, a policeman had removed the air from the tyre of a labourer carrying vegetables to dissuade people from crowding outside a market during a 21-day nationwide lockdown to limit the spreading of coronavirus disease.
  • In Kolkata,a police officer wearing plainclothes strikes a man over his legs for breaking a strict 21-day nationwide lockdown as the country is making continuous attempts to slow the spread of coronavirus disease.
  • In Karnataka, the police are paining 'Corona Danger' on the roadto dissuade people who are not obeying the lockdown rules.
  • The police are making the rule-breakers to do squats on the street.
  • Most of the police officers like Shegunasi have come up with creative efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and enforce the 21-day total lockdown, which was implemented on 24thMarch to curb the spread of coronavirus in India.
  • In Madhya Pradesh, the police officer were found doing arti of the people who were not following the lockdown orders.

Penal Provisions

Following are the penalties that will be imposed for breaking the lockdown (COVID-19) rules:

  • If any person disobeys the COVID-19 rules, then he shall be deemed to have committed an offence that is punishable under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code. Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code states the provision relating to the disobedience to the order duly promulgated by a public servant. The person shall be punishable with simple imprisonment for the term which may extend for onemonth or with fine which may extend to Rs. 200 or with both. If the disobedience causes or tends to cause danger to human life, health or safety then the person shall be punishable with imprisonment for the term which may extend for sixmonths or with fine which may extend to Rs. 1,000 or with both.
  • The Authorities in several parts of the country, including Delhi, have already invoked Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure that prohibits the people from social gatherings or assemblies.
  • The FIR was lodged against a famousBollywood singer, who had attended parties after returning from London and tested positive for coronavirus.The authorities can take recourse under Section 269 and Section 270 of IPC.
  • Section 269 of IPC states that a person who unlawfully or negligently does any act which is and which he has a reason to believe or he knows, is likely to spread the infection of any disease which is dangerous to life, is punishable with imprisonment of either description up to six months or fine or with both fine and imprisonment. The offence is cognizable, meaning that the police can arrest the accused without a warrant, but it is bailable.
  • Section 270 of IPC whoever malignantly does any act which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe to be, likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.It deals with a “malignant act” to spread the infection of disease dangerous to life and punishes it with two-year imprisonment or fine. The offence is cognizable and bailable.
  • People can also be booked under Section 271of the IPC, 1860, which criminalises disobedience of quarantine rule. The person will be punished withimprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.

Conclusion

The Government of India is taking all the necessary steps in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection among the citizens of India. All the citizens must take precautions as per the advisories that are being issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Across India, the states are not taking violations of curfew, lockdown and home quarantine lightly. Scores of people were challaned, some people were booked under the provisions of the Epidemic Act and sent to isolation wards for not following the lockdown orders as the measures were being taken to ensure their own and public safety.