Odisha ordinance: Up to 2 yrs jail for COVID-19 lockdown violation

State amends Section 3 of colonial-era Epidemic Diseases Act

By Ashis Senapati
Published: Thursday 09 April 2020

The Odisha government has promulgated an ordinance with a provision of imprisonment of up to two years for those who violate lockdown regulations by amending Section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.

Anyone who disobeys any regulation or order made under the Act, is liable for imprisonment up to two years or with a fine of up to Rs 10,000 or with both, according to the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020.

However, all offences under the Act shall be cognisable and bailable, Asit Tripathy, Odisha’s chief secretary, said on April 9, 2020.

The state government brought in the ordinance as the state assembly is not in session at the moment.

Any person disobeying any regulation or order made under the 1897 Act was deemed to have committed an offence punishable under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), under Section 3 of the Act.

A provision has also been also made in the Ordinance for special procurement of critical drugs and consumables to manage the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, Tripathy added.

Odisha’s department of health and family welfare has also framed regulations which have two provisions:

  • Not wearing a mask in public place shall be considered as an offence.
  • The penalty for the first three instances has been kept at Rs 200 while for offences beyond that, the penalty shall be Rs 500 for each offence in the state.

Forty-two COVID-19 positive cases have been reported in Odisha till date. Thirty-nine of these are active and under treatment. Two people have recovered and one elderly person has succumbed to the virus, Tripathy said.

The state government had implemented the Odisha COVID-19 regulations 2020 using the 1897 Act on March 13.

During the lockdown period, police arrested around 15 persons in the state for sharing false information about coronavirus on social media under sections:

  • 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant)
  • 500 (Punishment for defamation)
  • 501(Printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory)
  • 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the IPC and Section 66 F A of the Information Technology Act for allegedly posting fake information on social media.

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