Ministry of Home Affairs issues guidelines for implementation of various measures by various Government departments for preventing the spread of COVID-19

Ministry of Home Affairs issues guidelines for implementation of various measures by various Government departments for preventing the spread of COVID-19

The Ministry of Home Affairs has through Order No. 40-3/2020-D, dated 24th March, 2020 issued Guidelines under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 with a view to maintaining consistency in application and implementation of various measures for preventing the spread of COVID-19 in India with effect from 25th March, 2020 for a period of 21 days till 15th April, 2020.

The Order provides the following:

  1. Commercial and Private establishments to be closed down.

However, there are exceptions to the above-mentioned:

  • Delivery of all essential goods including food, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment through E-commerce are permitted;
  • Telecommunications, internet services, broadcasting and cable services, IT and IT enabled Services only (for essential services) are permitted to be kept open but should as far as possible work from home;
  • Capital and Debt market services as notified by Securities and Exchange Board of India are permitted to be kept open;
  • Print and Electronic media may be kept open;
  • Cold storage and warehousing services are permitted to be kept open;
  • Power generation, transmission and distribution units and services are permitted to be kept open;
  • Banks, ATMs and Insurance offices are permitted to be kept open;
  • Private Security services are permitted to be kept open.
  • Shops, including ration shops (under PDS), dealing with food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy and milk booths, meat and fish, animal fodder; (District authorities may encourage and facilitate home delivery to minimize the movement of individuals outside their homes);
  • Petrol pumps, LPG, Petroleum and gas retail and storage outlets are permitted to be kept open;

All other establishments shall work from home only.

  1. Industrial Establishments to remain closed.

Exception to the above-mentioned as follows:

  1. Manufacturing units for essential commodities and,
  2. Production units which require continuous process shall obtain relevant permission from the State Government for keeping open;
  3. Suspension of all transport services whether by air, rail and roadways.

Exception to the above-mentioned are as follows:

  • Transportation of essential goods and
  • Fire, law and order and emergency services.
  1. Closure of all Hospitality services.

Exception to the above-mentioned are as follows:

  1. Hotels, homestays, lodges and motels which are accommodating tourists and persons stranded due to lockdown, medical and emergency staff, air and sea crew; along with
  • Establishments used/earmarked for quarantine facilities.
  1. Closure of all educational, training, research, coaching institutions etc.
  1. Closure of all public places of worship and prevention of any religious congregation without any exception.
  1. Prevention of all social/ political/ sports/ entertainment/ academic/ cultural/ religious functions/ gatherings.
  1. In case of funeral congregations, no more than 20 persons are permitted.
  1. Hospitals and all related medical establishments including their manufacturing and distribution units, both in public and private sector including dispensaries, chemist and medical equipment shops, laboratories, clinics, nursing homes, ambulances etc. are permitted to remain operational.
  1. The transportation of all medical personnel, nurses, para-medical staff, other hospital support services are also permitted.
  1. Strict observance of quarantine for all persons who have arrived in India after 15.02.2020 as per their local authorities failing which they will be prosecuted as per Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code.

Penalty:

Persons flouting any of the above restrictions are liable to be prosecuted under the penal provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 along with Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code.

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* 188 of Indian Penal Code: Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant.—Whoever, knowing that, by an order promulgated by a public servant lawfully empowered to promulgate such order, he is directed to abstain from a certain act, or to take certain order with certain property in his possession or under his management, disobeys such direction, shall, if such disobedience causes or tends to cause obstruction, annoyance or injury, or risk of obstruction, annoyance or injury, to any person lawfully employed, be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both; and if such disobedience causes or trends to cause danger to human life, health or safety, or causes or tends to cause a riot or affray, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both

 

*57 of Disaster Management Act: Penalty for contravention of any order regarding requisitioning. —If any person contravenes any order made under section 65, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine or with both.

 

Some other penal provisions under the Disaster Management Act.

 

*51 of Disaster Management Act: Punishment for obstruction, etc.—Whoever, without reasonable cause— (a) obstructs any officer or employee of the Central Government or the State Government, or a person authorised by the National Authority or State Authority or District Authority in the discharge of his functions under this Act; or (b) refuses to comply with any direction given by or on behalf of the Central Government or the State Government or the National Executive Committee or the State Executive Committee or the District Authority under this Act, shall on conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine, or with both, and if such obstruction or refusal to comply with directions results in loss of lives or imminent danger thereof, shall on conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years.

 

*52 of Disaster Management Act: Punishment for false claim.—Whoever knowingly makes a claim which he knows or has reason to believe to be false for obtaining any relief, assistance, repair, reconstruction or other benefits consequent to disaster from any officer of the Central Government, the State Government, the National Authority, the State Authority or the District Authority, shall, on conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, and also with fine.

*53 of Disaster Management Act: Punishment for misappropriation of money or materials, etc.—Whoever, being entrusted with any money or materials, or otherwise being, in custody of, or dominion over, any money or goods, meant for providing relief in any threatening disaster situation or disaster, misappropriates or appropriates for his own use or disposes of such money or materials or any part thereof or wilfully compels any other person so to do, shall on conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, and also with fine.

 

*54 of Disaster Management Act: Punishment for false warning. — Whoever makes or circulates a false alarm or warning as to disaster or its severity or magnitude, leading to panic, shall on conviction, be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to one year or with fine.

 

*55 of Disaster Management Act: Offences by Departments of the Government.—(1) Where an offence under this Act has been committed by any Department of the Government, the head of the Department shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly unless he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence. (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), where an offence under this Act has been committed by a Department of the Government and it is proved that the offence has been committed with the consent or connivance of, or is attributable to any neglect on the part of, any officer, other than the head of the Department, such officer shall be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.

 

*56 of Disaster Management Act: Failure of officer in duty or his connivance at the contravention of the provisions of this Act.—Any officer, on whom any duty has been imposed by or under this Act and who ceases or refuses to perform or withdraws himself from the duties of his office shall, unless he has obtained the express written permission of his official superior or has other lawful excuse for so doing, be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine.

 

*58 of Disaster Management Act: Offence by companies.—(1) Where an offence under this Act has been committed by a company or body corporate, every person who at the time the offence was committed, was in charge of, and was responsible to, the company, for the conduct of the business of the company, as well as the company, shall be deemed to be guilty of the contravention and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly: Provided that nothing in this sub-section shall render any such person liable to any punishment provided in this Act, if he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he exercised due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence. (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), where an offence under this Act has been committed by a company, and it is proved that the offence was committed with the consent or connivance of or is attributable to any neglect on the part of any director, manager, secretary or other officer of the company, such director, manager, secretary or other officer shall also, be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly. Explanation. — For the purpose of this section— (a) “company” means anybody corporate and includes a firm or other association of individuals; and (b) “director”, in relation to a firm, means a partner in the firm.

 

*59 of Disaster Management Act: Previous sanction for prosecution. — No prosecution for offences punishable under sections 55 and 56 shall be instituted except with the previous sanction of the Central Government or the State Government, as the case may be, or of any officer authorised in this behalf, by general or special order, by such Government.

 

*60 of Disaster Management Act: Cognizance of offences.—No court shall take cognizance of an offence under this Act except on a complaint made by— (a) the National Authority, the State Authority, the Central Government, the State Government, the District Authority or any other authority or officer authorised in this behalf by that Authority or Government, as the case may be; or (b) any person who has given notice of not less than thirty days in the manner prescribed, of the alleged offence and his intention to make a complaint to the National Authority, the State Authority, the Central Government, the State Government, the District Authority or any other authority or officer authorised as aforesaid.

 

SourceMinistry of Home Affairs

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