What are the Penalties for Violating India’s Coronavirus Lockdown?

, What are the Penalties for Violating India’s Coronavirus Lockdown?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the entire country would be going into lockdown to deal with the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis for the next 21 days.

The lockdown has been put in place using an order under the Disaster Management Act 2005.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has issued an order to the Centre, as well as all State/Union Territory governments to take effective measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in India.

As part of the order, the NDMA has issued guidelines to the Centre/State/UT governments with directions for strict implementation. These guidelines have listed out the penalties for violation of the lockdown, as per the Disaster Management Act – which also includes spreading fake news about the coronavirus pandemic.

Offenses and Penalties Under the Disaster Management Act 2005

  1. Obstruction (Section 51)

    If you obstruct a government servant from carrying out their duties or refuse to comply with any directions issued by the Centre/State governments or the NDMA.

    PENALTY: Up to 1 year’s imprisonment + fine. If your actions lead to loss of lives, then up to 2 years’ imprisonment + fine.

  2. False Warnings (Section 54)

    If you make or circulate a false alarm or warning about the disaster, or its severity, leading to panic.

    PENALTY: Up to one year’s imprisonment or fine.

  3. False Claim for Benefits (Section 52)

    If you make a claim (whether on social media, in person, or in writing) that you know is false, so that you can obtain relief, assistance, repair or some other benefit from the Centre/State governments or the NDMA.

    PENALTY: Up to 2 years’ imprisonment + fine.

  4. Misappropriation of Money/Materials (Section 53)

    If you misappropriate any money or materials meant for relief efforts for your own use or sell them in black.

    PENALTY: Up to 2 years’ imprisonment + fine.

  5. Failure of Officer to Perform Duties by Government Officer (Section 56)

    If a government official who has been instructed to perform some duties relating to the lockdown refuses to do them or withdraws from performing his duties without taking permission.

    PENALTY: Up to 1 year’s imprisonment or fine.

  6. Refusing to Comply with a Requisition Order (Section 57)

    The Disaster Management Act allows the NDMA to requisition any resources, vehicles or buildings it needs for carrying out its work in response to the disaster in question. If you fail to comply with such a requisition order, then you have also committed an offense.

    PENALTY: Up to 1 year’s imprisonment + fine.

 

There are special provisions for when these offenses are committed by government departments and companies:

Section 188 of IPC

Any violation of the lockdown can also be punished under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code. This provision punishes any person who disobeys an order by a public servant to abstain from an act or deals with their property away.

PENALTY:

    • Up to 1 month’s imprisonment + fine of Rs 200.
    • If the disobedience causes danger to human life, health or safety: Up to 6 months’ imprisonment + fine of Rs 1,000.
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