Book lockdown violators under IPC, DM Act, Home Secretary tells states

The home secretary on Thursday requested the states to widely circulate information on penal provisions laid down under the Disaster Management Act also as IPC for violation of lockdown guidelines and asked the enforcement agencies to require suitable action under these provisions.

The latest communication from Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla to the chief secretaries comes each day after he asked the states/UTs to implement the lockdown measures issued by MHA in exercise of powers under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, “in letter and spirit, without allowing any exception”.

Reminding the states of Supreme Court’s recent observation that it “trusts and expects that each one state governments, public authorities and citizens of this country will faithfully suits directives, advisories and orders issued by the Union of India … within the interest of public safety”, Bhalla cited Sections 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act also as Section 188 of IPC that provide for punitive action — imprisonment or/and fine — against a person violating the containment measures for COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is requested that for the eye of the general public authorities and citizens, the penal provisions under the DM Act and IPC should be widely circulated and for violation of lockdown measures, action under relevant provisions of DM Act and IPC shall be taken by the enforcement authorities,” the house Secretary noted.

Section 51 of DM Act provides for max one-year sentence (two years if it endangers life) or fine for anyone who obstructs government servant; Section 54 provides for up to at least one year in jail for false warning; Section 52 and 53 entails up to 2 years in jail for false claims and misappropriation of funds. Punitive action is additionally laid down under DM Act for offences by government departments and corporations and for officers failing in their duty. Section 188 of IPC provides for up to six-month sentence of fine, or both, which is further extendable to 2 years if it’s endangers human life, for anyone disobeying an order duly promulgated by an employee .

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