Indian Penal Code (IPC) Current Affairs - 2020

What is the difference between lockdown, Curfew and Section 144?

With COVID-19 spreading in India, GoI has ruled curfew in some areas, Section-144 in some other areas and lock down in many other areas. These measures are being done to contain the spread of the virus.

Lock Down

The action is called Lock Down when there are restrictions on assembly. However, essential services are available in these situations. The Lock Down shall be enforced by a collector or the chief medical officer. The chief Medical Officer shall enforce Lock Down according to Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897. With Lock Down being imposed five or more people are not allowed to assemble.

During Lock Down, the police has rights to arrest person and book him under Section 271 when he tries to escape from quarantine.

Section 144

The action is called Section 144, when the assembly of people are prohibited abiding to Indian Penal Code. Under Section 144, more than 5 people are not allowed to assemble.

Curfew

The action is called Curfew when Section 144 is imposed along with the shutdown of essential services. The Curfew powers lies with Collector and Police Commissioner.

Corona Virus: Epidemic Disease Act Invoked in India

On March 11, 2020, the Group of Ministers formed by the Union Government to fight against Covid-19 in India invoked the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897.

Highlights

The GoI has invoked Section 2 of the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897. The act has been invoked as the number of infected persons in the country reached 73. The GoI has also advised international travel ban. Also, existing visas to India has been suspended till April 15, 2020. However, representatives from international organizations, diplomats and other project visits have been exempted.

Key Features of the act

The persons disobeying regulations made under the act are punishable under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code. The State Government is empowered to make changes to ordinary laws if there is necessity of insufficiency of the existing laws to deal the situation. For instance, travel inspection, segregation in hospital, etc. Similar powers are vested with Central Government as well.

The act uses the word “epidemic” to address the disease and not Pandemic as declared by WHO.