Uttar Pradesh Government on Wednesday i.e. 6th May 2020 passed an Ordinance that prescribes a maximum punishment of life term if COVID-19 death is caused by a person by “intentional affliction”.
“Intentional Affliction” here means that any person who infects another person with a contagious disease intentionally. Section 24 of the UP-Public Health and Epidemic Disease Control Ordinance,2020 talks about the punishment for intentional affliction i.e. if any person who intentionally infects another person with a contagious disease shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for 2-5 years.
Section 25 talks about “Mass Affliction”, infecting five or more than five people. Section 26 states that whoever causes death under Section 24
and Section 25
of the Ordinance, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than seven years but may extend to life imprisonment and be made liable to pay a fine of Rs. 3 Lakh to Rs. 5 lakhs. The State Chief Secretary, R.K Tiwari clarify that the meaning of “intentionally” in the Ordinance is the same as defined in legal terms”. The Ordinance also provides punishment for “concealment” and travel by Public transport by a COVID-19 patient, which ranges from Rs. 50,000 to 1 Lakh and imprisonment for 1-3 years. All the offenses under this Ordinance shall be Cognizable and non-bailable as per Section 30
. Further as per the Ordinance, Section 31(1) states that no suits or legal proceedings shall lie against any person for anything, which is done with good intention or in good faith. The State Finance Minister, Suresh Khanna said that spitting, incitement to attack, throwing filth on Corona Warriors, violating quarantine norms will be met with punishment for 2-5 years and fine of Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 2 Lakhs. There are also harsh punishments prescribed under the Ordinance for attacks on Healthcare workers. For assault, misbehaving with health workers, paramedical staff, police personnel, sanitization workers, or any corona warriors deployed by the Government, the punishment will range from 6 Months to 7 Years, and fine from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 5 Lakhs. For the violation of quarantine norms, the person can be imprisoned for 1-3 years and may be liable to pay Rs. 70,000 to Rs. 1 Lakh. Those who escape from the hospitals can be imprisoned for 1-2 years and made to pay Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 1 Lakh. The Government will set up two authorities for prevention and treatment of the disease i.e. the State Epidemic Control Authority will be chaired by the Chief Minister and the District Central Epidemic Control Authority which will be chaired by District Magistrate, under the proposed law. If we talk about the UP, last month, Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor was booked under Section 188
, and 270
of IPC, after she attended the gatherings in Lucknow, including a party where many political leaders were present and later, she tested positive for the COVOD-19 disease. There are many other instances across the country where Section 269
and Section 270
IPC have been used to book persons who violate the quarantine order for containing the spread of the pandemic. The UP Government issued the Ordinance to punish those who are seen flouting the lockdown norms and are preventing the government from effectively curbing the spread of the pandemic.