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What legal action can be taken if you don’t follow the coronavirus lockdown?

You could be jailed or fined under the section 188 of IPC if you disobey coronavirus lockdown

Various states and UTs including Delhi, Punjab, Maharashtra took the Centre’s advice to enforce a full lockdown in districts to contain the spread of COVID-19 just after the Janta Curfew on Sunday.

The orders have been framed under the Epidemics Diseases Act, 1897, which lays down punishment as per section 188 of the IPC, 1860, for flouting such orders- leading to imprisonment up to 6 months or fine up to Rs 1000 or both.

Section 188 of Indian Penal Code Explained

Section 3 of the Epidemics Diseases Act, 1897, provides for disobeying any order or regulation made under the act. These come under Section 188 of the IPC (Indian Penal Code).

The act says that it is not necessary that the offender should intend to produce harm, or contemplate his disobedience as likely to produce harm. It is sufficient that the person knows about the order which he/she disobeys and that his/her disobedience is likely to produce or produces harm.

Read more: Historic Things that happened due to COVID-19 outbreak!

What is the punishment?

There are two offences under Section 188.

1.Disobedience of an order lawfully promulgated by a public servant, If such disobedience causes obstruction, injury or annoyance to  persons lawfully employed.

Punishment: Fine of Rs 200 or simple imprisonment for 1 month or both.

If such disobedience causes danger to human life, safety, health and more

Punishment: A fine of Rs 1,000 or simple imprisonment for 6 months or both

As per the First Schedule of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), 1973, both offences are bailable cognizable and can be tried at any magistrate.

Why governments enforced such curbs?

In the wake of coronavirus which is spreading on a large scale across the world and which has taken more than 17,000 lives so far, the government has enforced lockdown in various districts of the country.  No vaccination or drug has been found so far which can cure the deadly virus. The only way to stop the deadly virus is to break the chain of it spreading to other people.

This can only be done through social distancing. Offices, schools, seminars, conferences, sporting events, gyms, weddings and other events which calls for a gathering is ordered to shut, cancelled or postponed around the world.

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