Epidemic disease (amendment) ordinance, 2020 – AVNI BHARDWAJ UILS CHANDIGARH UNIVERSITY

During the reign of imperial legislative Council India suffered with the disease bubonic plague in Bombay (now Mumbai). To control the spread of disease Imperial British council introduced the Epidemic disease act,1897.It provided special powers to the government that were required for the implementation of containment measures to control the spread of the disease.

This act came into force in previous instances to handle various disease in India such as swine flu, cholera, malaria and dengue. It was recently enacted in 2018 as cholera began to spread in a region of Gujrat. In 2015 to deal with dengue and malaria in Chandigarh. In 2009 in pune to control swine flu.

Legal provisions in the act 1897

Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897

Act No. 3 of 1897

[4th February, 1897.]

An Act to provide for the better prevention of the spread of Dangerous Epidemic Diseases.

WHEAREAS it is expedient to provide for the better prevention of the spread of dangerous epidemic disease; It is hereby enacted as follows :-

  1. Short title and extent.- (1) This Act may be called the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.

[(2) It extends to the whole of India except [the territories which, immediately before the 1st November, 1956, were comprised in Part B States].

  • Power to take special measures and prescribe regulations as to dangerous epidemic diseases.- (1) When at any time the [State Government] is satisfied that [the State] or any part thereof is visited by, or threatened with, an outbreak of any dangerous epidemic disease,

the [State Government], if [it] thinks that the ordinary provisions of the law for the time being in force are in sufficient for the purpose, may take, or require or empower any person to take, such measures and, by public notice, prescribe such temporary regulations to be observed by the public or by any person or class of persons as [it] shall deem necessary to prevent the outbreak of such disease or the spread thereof, and may determine in what manner and by whom any expenses incurred (including compensation if any) shall be defrayed.

(2) In particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provisions, the [State Government] may take measures and prescribe regulations for-

(b) the inspection of persons travelling by railway or otherwise, and the segregation, in hospital, temporary accommodation or otherwise, of persons suspected by the inspecting officer of being infected with any such disease.

[2A. Power of Central Government.- When the Central Government is satisfied that Indian or any part thereof is visited by, or threatened with, an outbreak of any dangerous epidemic disease and that the ordinary provisions of the law for the time being in force are insufficient to prevent the outbreak of such disease or the spread thereof, the Central Government may take measures and prescribe regulations for the inspection of any ship or vessel leaving or arriving at any port in [the territories to which this Act extends] and for such detention thereof, or of any person intending to sail therein, or arriving thereby, as may be necessary.]

  • Penalty.- Any person disobeying any regulation or order made under this Act shall be deemed to have committed an offence punishable under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code.
  • Protection to persons acting under Act.- No suit or other legal proceeding shall lie against any person for anything done or in good faith intended to be done under this Act.

Scientific developments have achieved new heights in every aspect whether it is technology, education, health care, space science and biology. But along with the development new challenges are coming. The best example is current situation being faced by the world, corona (scientific name COVID-19). More than 190 countries are affected and the cases are on the peak. Scientists are giving their best to find out the vaccine for the disease. Every country is working hard to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Preventive measures wearing mask, proper sanitation, social distancing are the part of prevention in the epidemic situation. Lockdown is announced in every country. GDP and economic rate is decreasing rapidly. Education system is suffering.

The ministry of health, Govt of India has decided to take serious action and implemented section 2 and 3 of the 123 year old law Epidemic disease act 1897 on March 11,2020.

In the outbreak people are not cooperating with the medical staff and corona warriors whether they are doctors, nurses, ward boy police, and many other. They are witnessing various incidents of attack. Corona warriors are continuously performing their duty round the clock and saving the lives of corona victims without thinking about their own health, sometime they become the carrier of the virus. They are bound to serve their duty and giving their best without any discrimination. They only need cooperation and support from the society to accomplish their duty .

But because of the low mentality, lack of education among the people. They are becoming victim of violent incidents, their own lives are now in danger because of the attacks. Many health care services, doctors, medical staff are backing steps from treating patients. This leads to decreasein medical staff and facilities. So, to tackle with the problem the cabinet has intervened in the matter and brought the ordinance

 ‘THE EPIDEMIC DISEASE(AMENDMENT) ORDINANCE 2020

 to protect the medical fraternity. The ordinance make sure that during the pandemic situation, there is zero tolerance to any form of misbehave and violence against medical staff and health department and Corona warriors.

THE EPIDEMIC DISEASE(AMENDMENT) ORDINANCE 2020

The epidemic disease amendment ordinance 2020 was sanctioned on 22 April, 2020.this ordinance amended the previous act called epidemic disease Act 1897.The act is Used to prevent the spread of corona virus (COVID-19). It also protect the healthcare fraternity and give powers to central government. The act includes:-

The ordinance defined medical and health care fraternity as a individual who are working round the clock risking their own life and performing their duties without thinking about themselves and their own families. The healthcare and medical fraternity includes public and private clinical healthcare department, any employee who is working for healthcare department and who is empowered to take measures and precautions under this ordinance, and the person who is appointed by state government for the outbreak of the disease.

It also includes the term called ‘act of violence’. It means any violence created against medical fraternity whether it is harassment against medical staff, harming, causing minor and major injuries, hurting somebody, or endangering their lives and making hindrances in giving their duties and destroying property and documents of health care department. Property includes:- quarantine wards and facilities, medical instruments and machines and other property belonging to hospital.

Powers to central government:-

It is a duty of government to synchronize the examine of ships and vessels deporting and reporting at any port, any person who intended to travel from any port during the situation should be detained. It also gives power to the cars, buses, trains, ships, aircraft, good vehicle deporting and reporting to any port or aerodrome. And the power to detain any individual who are travelling  by any means.

The ordinance claims that no individual can commit or abet to commit any kind of act which creates violence against the health care department and abet or commit to cause any damage to the property of health care department during the situation. If someone  is to do so, then she or he will be punished with imprisonment for 3 months to five years, 50,000 and 2 lakh fine shall be charged. If any grievous hurt or harm is done against any individual who is on duty or off duty then there will be imprisonment of 6 months to7 years and 1 lakh and 5 lakh fine shall be imposed and offences are non baliable and cognizable.

Individual who is convicted of any offence under the Act shall be liable to pay a compensation to the medical and health care department. The compensation must be decided by the court. If there is loss to the property then the compensation will be twice. If the offenders failed to pay the compensation or fine the amount shall be recovered under the the revenue recovery Act, 1890. The case which are registered under the act shall be investigated by the police officer. The time of investigation is 30 days from the registration of first information report. The trial should be done within one year. If it is not done within time limit, the judge will record the reason for the delay in procedure.

Conclusion

In the pandemic situation it is a duty of every citizen of a country to give their contribution for the betterment of society. But due to ill minded people corona warriors are experiencing various incidents and attacks on them. To manage the condition our government took a major steps and a new amendment is introduced epidemic disease (amendment) ordinance 2020. This act is introduced for those people who are out of control and making riots in the areas. In such conditions everyone is responsible for their duties and responsibilities. Government is doing their duty ,they only need co-operation. By introducing the ordinance, they only want peace and harmony. Country is facing huge loss in every aspect whether it is education, economy. Since the outbreak of COVID 19 schools and colleges are shut down and students are facing difficulties in their academic. GDP of country is decreasing. And the situation is not yet under control. Our scientists are looking for the vaccine. Proper sanitation and cleanliness helps to decrease cases. Proper social distancing should be followed by the citizen. Country need only cooperation from citizens,. So be co-operative and be safe and healthy.

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