National lock-down: Measures against COVID-19 strengthened
Citizens are having mixed emotions as Prime Minister Narendra Modi proclaimed National Lock-down at 8 pm yesterday. The whole of India is under lock-down for the next three weeks. All people are advised to stay home and not get out of their house unless it is of grave urgency.
The country had gone through a trial lock-down on Sunday from 7 am-9 pm. The Prime Minister, on his interaction with the country yesterday, said that the Janta Curfew that happened on Sunday was well-supported by the people and the country will continue the same measure further. He urged the people that this lock-down will be nothing but a curfew and there will be no difficulties in the daily life of the citizens. He also assured that all the essential supplies will be available without hindrance.
The lock-down will not affect Defence, central and state police officers, fire and emergency services, grocery shops, medical stores, post offices, banks and ATMs, nursing homes, ambulance services., among many others.
However lock-down violations could bring about serious criminal charges under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, which includes:
Section 51. Whoever, without reasonable cause,
A) Obstructs any officer or employee of the Central Government or the State Government or a person authorized by the National Authority or State Authority or District Authority in his duty
B) Refuse to comply with any direction given by or behalf of The Central Government or the State Executive Committee or the District Authority shall be punished with imprisonment for a year or with fine or with both and if such obstruction or refusal results in loss of lives or imminent danger, then the punishment will be imprisonment for two years.
Section 52. Whoever knowingly makes a false claim in order to get relief, assistance or other benefits shall be punished with imprisonment for 2 years and with a fine.
Section 54. Whoever spreads false news regarding the disaster and creates panic among people shall be punished with 1 year of prison time or with a fine.
Section 55. Any Government Official who commits an offense under this Act shall be punished accordingly unless proved otherwise.
Section 56. Any officer who fails to perform his duties unless he has a lawful reason to do so shall be punished with 1 year of jail time or with a fine.
Section 58. A) Where an offense under this Act has been committed by a company, every person at the time of commitment of such offense shall be punished accordingly unless he/she can prove the offense was committed without his/her knowledge or that he/she was careful enough to prevent the offense.
B) Where an offense under this Act is committed by a company, and it is proved that such an Act was committed with the consent or because of any neglect from any officer of the company, such officer shall be deemed guilty and punished accordingly.
Section 60. No Court shall take cognizance of an offense under this Act except on a complaint made by,
A) The National Authority, The State Authority, the Central Government, the District Authority or any other authority or officer authorized in this behalf by that Authority or Government, as the case may be; or
B) any person who has given notice of not less than thirty days in the manner prescribed, of the alleged offense and his intention to make a complaint to the National Authority, the State Authority, the Central Government, the State Government, the District Authority or officer authorized as aforesaid.
Charges will also be made under IPC Sections 147, 188, 269 on those who commit lock-down violations.
Social distancing and self-quarantining are the best measures we can take right now. “If we don’t handle these 21 days well, then our country, our family will go backward by 21 years,” PM said emphasizing the need for self-quarantining.