In the wake of multiple cases of people violating the nationwide lockdown, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla instructed the states and the Union Territories Thursday that such offenders should be booked under the required provisions of Indian Penal Code and Disaster Management Act, 2005.
News agency PTI reported that in a letter to all chief secretaries of the states and union territories, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said the lockdown measures issued on March 24 clearly mentioned that “any person violating these containment measures will be liable to be proceeded against as per the provisions of Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, besides legal action under Section 188 of the IPC”.
The letter further requested that in order to raise public awareness about the penalties for violating the lockdown, the penal provisions under the DM Act and IPC should be widely circulated.
Bhalla also cited the provisions of DM Act and IPC and said anyone obstructing lockdown enforcement could be punishable for a jail term for up to two years and anyone making false claims, or indulging in rumour mongering can be punished up to two years of jail with required penalty.
He also said misappropriation of money or material in disaster-like situation invites two years of jail with a fine.
Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also appealed state governments to ensure that rules and regulations of the coronavirus lockdown are enforced as he noted that many people are not taking the measure seriously.
लॉकडाउन को अभी भी कई लोग गंभीरता से नहीं ले रहे हैं। कृपया करके अपने आप को बचाएं, अपने परिवार को बचाएं, निर्देशों का गंभीरता से पालन करें। राज्य सरकारों से मेरा अनुरोध है कि वो नियमों और कानूनों का पालन करवाएं।
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 23, 2020
“Many people are still not taking the lockdown seriously. Please save yourself, save your family, follow the instructions seriously. I request state governments to ensure rules and laws are followed,” he said in a tweet in Hindi.
Ever since India reported its first novel coronavirus case on January 30 in Kerala, Prime Minister Modi’s action plan to contain the spread of COVID-19 has so far seen steps such as a ‘Janata curfew’ followed by a strict 21-day lockdown besides sealing India’s borders by banning all international flights.
Home Ministry blacklists foreigners belonging to Tablighi Jamaat
With the Tablighi Jamaat’s Markaz in Nizamuddin West in Delhi emerging as a hotspot of coronavirus, the Home Ministry has cancelled the visas of 960 Tablighi Jamaat foreigners and blacklisted them. Earlier, an MHA official said about 9,000 Tablighi Jamaat members and their primary contacts have been quarantined till now in the country.
Death toll, number of cases continue to rise
Meanwhile, 328 coronavirus cases have been reported in the last 24 hours in India, taking the overall infections to 1,955, whereas the death toll stood at 50. The Home Ministry directed states and Union Territories to book under relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Disaster Management Act, 2005 people who violate lockdown rules or make false claims.
Globally, confirmed coronavirus cases approached one million on Thursday. Since emerging in China in December, COVID-19 has infected more than 940,000 people — including at least 500,000 in Europe — and claimed more than 47,000 lives, according to AFP. Spain said on Thursday it had suffered a record 950 deaths in 24 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities to 10,003.
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