Updated: Dec 16, 2020
On March 24, 2020, the Prime Minister of India declared a total lockdown for 3 weeks for all the residing citizens of the nation to prevent the outbreak of the Coronavirus.
As much as we have heard the words, ‘quarantine’, ‘curfew’, ‘lockdown’. All of them hold a legal connotation and definitions under various acts and laws existing in India.
According to Article 19 (1) (b) and Article 19 (d) of the Indian constitution, all the citizens have the right 'to assemble peacefully and without arms' and 'to move peacefully throughout the territory of India' respectively.
Whereas due to the recent lockdown being announced by the PM, it restricts civil liberty and according to some critics also violates the fundamental rights being guaranteed.
For better understanding and to reach a conclusion it is important to study the inception, origin, and existence of these terms in the legal sense.
The term, “lockdown” was first used by the government workers to explain a situation in which the trade of goods and movement has refrained and the basic goods required for survival are distributed. Some examples are-
THE DELHI EPIDEMIC DISEASES COVID 16 REGULATIONS 2020
THE MAHARASHTRA EPIDEMIC DISEASES COVID 19 REGULATIONS 2020
THE PUNJAB EPIDEMIC DISEASE COVID 19 REGULATIONS 2020
THE HIMACHAL PRADESH EPIDEMIC DISEASE COVID 19 REGULATIONS 2020
Lockdown and Curfew are very distinct terms which vary from each other in every aspect, in lockdown the government officials or the police cannot arrest or detain someone if found not following the orders whereas in curfew they can. However, according to Section 188, Section 269, and Section 270 of the Indian Penal Code, public servants can enforce the lockdown for efficiency.
THE EPIDEMIC DISEASES ACT, 1897
This act was first enacted due to an outbreak of bubonic plague in Bombay in 1896, in which the government forced the people to migrate out of the city.
This act has 4 provisions,
Section 2 and 2A of this act states that the government is entitled to take measures to ensure the safety of the state and to reduce the chances of an outbreak. At the same time, the government can temporarily forbid the movement of trade, service, and traveling by air, railways, and ships if called so.
Section 3 of this act states that Section 188 of IPC the government can prescribe the penalty for disobeying any regulation.
DISASTER MANAGEMENT ACT, 2005This act enables the government to take administrative measures in case of a disaster and helps to cope up with the requirements thus caused.
Although the act was made for situations like floods, earthquakes, etc, however on March 14, the home ministry together with other government officials declared the outbreak of COVID 19, as a "notified disaster" thus enabling the provisions of this statute.
Majorly this act deal with the situations of disaster and imposition of fines, it also limits the usage of the internet and helps the government to use the disaster funds to meet with the requirements.
The pandemic as declared by the W.H.O is well monitored by the legal bodies and it is hard to regard anyone statute or law. Therefore, all the above-mentioned acts along with the IPC are guiding force in proving a legal umbrella to cater to such a disaster. Please add a conclusion, if possible.
About the Author
Surpreet kaur, a young legal enthusiast and a musician, who has a deep interest in Intellectual Property Rights and other important legal spheres, has authored this article. She is a first-year legal intern at Prodigy Legal and is currently assisting on different topics with our professionals.