The Laws that are relevant for the period of lockdown
Why in news?
In a communication to states on March 24, the Home Ministry said persons violating the containment measures will be liable to be punished under the Provisions of the Disaster Management Act 2005, besides Section 188 of IPC.
Section 51 of Disaster Management Act, 2005 provides for punishment for two kinds of offences:
Obstructing any officer or employee of the government or person authorized by any disaster management authority for discharge of a function; and
Refusing to comply with any direction given by the authorities under the Act.
Punishment can extend upto one year conviction, or two years if refusal leads to loss of lives or any imminent danger.
Section 188 of IPC deals with those disobeying an order passed by a public servant, and provides for imprisonment ranging from one to six months.
For those violating orders passed under the Epidemic Act, Section 188 of IPC is the provision under which punishment is awarded.
For Spreading Fear
Section 54 of the Disaster Management Act provides for imprisonment, extending to one year, of those who make or circulate a false alarm or warning re-garding a disaster or its severity or magnitude.
Section 505 of IPC provides for imprisonment of three years or fine, or both for those who publish or circulate anything which is likely to cause fear or alarm.
For False Claim to Aid, For Refusing to do duties, for Refusing to help
Under Section 52, Disaster Management Act, whoever makes a false claim for obtaining “any relief, assistance, repair, reconstruction or other benefits” from any official authority can be sentenced to a maximum of two years imprisonment and a fine will be imposed on the person
Any authorised authority under the Act can requisite resources like persons and material resources, premises like land or building, or sheds and vehicles for rescue operations. Though there is a provision for compensation under the Act, any person who disobeys such an order can be sentenced to imprisonment up to one year
For any offence under the Disaster Management Act, a court will take cognisance only if the complaint is filed by the national or state or district authority, or the central or state government. However, there is another provision: if a person has given notice of 30 days or more about an alleged offence, and about his intention to file a complaint, he or she can approach the court which can then take cognisance
The Act protects government officers and employees from any legal process for actions they took “in good faith"
Under the Epidemic Diseases Act too, no suit or other legal proceedings can lie against any person for any- thing done or intended to be done under good faith