How Is India Tackling The Corona Pandemic With A Vintage Law?

This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.

The Coronavirus which invaded the human universe from a fish market in Wuhan has wreaked havoc over humanity all over the world. The whole world has now come to a standstill.

Countries around the globe are trying their best to tackle this pandemic using their own legislations, measures and governance.

As a matter of fact, India is at the verge of arguably its greatest public health emergency since the 1918 influenza pandemic that killed around seven million people in the country.

The urgency of a proper legislation to tackle disease outbreaks has been known for long. However, only a few steps were taken to concretise some of the initiatives that were taken. Thus, the only main legal weapon the government possesses today is the Epidemic Disease Act of 1897. 

The Centre has asked states and Union Territories to invoke provisions of Section 2 of Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 for the health ministry advisories to be enforceable.

What Is The Epidemic Diseases Act Of 1897?

It is routinely enforced across the country for dealing with outbreaks of diseases such as swine flu, dengue, and cholera.

It was introduced by the colonial government to tackle the epidemic of bubonic plague that had spread in the erstwhile Bombay Presidency in the 1890s.

Section 2 of the 1897 law says that if the state government is satisfied that the state or any part, is ‘visited by or threatened with an outbreak’ and “ordinary provisions of law are insufficient’, it can take, require or empower any person to take measures. This would include providing for expenses and for compensation. Section 2A empowers the Central Government to cause inspection of and detain any ship or vessel arriving at any port.

Measures Under Indian Penal Code (IPC) 

Under the current laws, police can charge someone under IPC’s Section 269 for negligent act and Section 270 for the malignant act for spreading an infectious disease which is dangerous to life.

Thus, under such provisions, India is on a wake to tackle the worldwide pandemic coronavirus.

Future Concerns

After a few months, monsoon will arrive in India, which might result in disasters like floods. Under such conditions, the relief camps may turn into hotspots of coronavirus transmissions and it may create havoc if proper plans are not formulated at the time.

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