Over 70 districts in India are currently in lockdown till the end of March to contain the spread of coronavirus. Express Photo by Prashant Nadkar
The government has announced that anyone found violating the coronavirus lockdown imposed in several parts of the country will be fined Rs 1000 or could face a jail term of six months. What is the section 188 under which these rules have been imposed?
After the Janata Curfew on Sunday, several states took the Centre’s advice to enforce a full lockdown in districts where Covid-19 cases have been reported to contain the spread of the virus.
The orders 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– which can lead to imprisonment of up to 6 months or fine up to Rs 1000 or both.
In the past, the Act has been routinely enforced in dealing with outbreaks of diseases such as swine flu, dengue, and cholera. Its provisions are currently being invoked by states to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
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 Contempts of the Lawful Authority of Public Servants’, reads:
“Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant.—