This article is written by Shraddha Sharma, a BSc. LLB (Hons.) student from JECRC University, Jaipur.
“The universe is bringing our dreams to life, but unfortunately, it is also bringing our nightmares that little bit closer as well.”
― Anthony T. Hincks
Pandemic v. Epidemic
An epidemic is a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time.
An epidemic sickness is the form of one “affecting several persons at a similar time, and spreading from person to person in an exceedingly vicinity wherever the sickness isn’t for good active.” the World Health Organization (WHO) any specifies epidemic as occurring at the extent of a neighborhood or community.
Compared to an epidemic a pandemic is much wider term which is used to describe when a disease spreads over larger area , or the entire nation or even worldwide for an instance | plague was| an outbreak over an entire area it was in the form of deadly sickness or |a virus, virulent disease, a pandemic disease is an outbreak that has contact an oversized space, that is, it’s “prevalent throughout a whole country, continent, or the entire world.” Pandemic is additionally used as a noun, which means “a pandemic sickness which unfolds across the whole country.” The United Nations agency specifically defines as “a worldwide unfold of a brand-new disease.” We all were stuck by one such pandemic in recent past which was named as COVID-19 Virus. This virus was first came in news when a person from china was diagnosed with a new disease which was later named as COVID-19. This is a human to human transmission virus, so it did spread quickly all over the world.
On March 11, the United Nations agency formally declared the COVID-19 or Coronavirus as an occurrence of a pandemic because of the world unfold and severity of the disease.
Currently the whole world is suffering from such severe pandemic
Coronavirus is a type of contagious virus (COVID-19) that is associated with communicable disease which is caused by corona virus. Those who are infected with the COVID-19 virus can feel gentle to moderate temperature in the body. The person infected with the disease recovers, while not requiring any kind of special treatment. Older individuals, and people with underlying medical issues like diabetes, chronic disease, and cancer area unit additional possible to develop serious complications. The unwellness is caused and it spreads rapidly by shaking hands, coughing, sneezing etc. we all can defend ourselves from this deadly infection by simply cleaning and washing hands time to time or sanitizing our hands from time to time with alcohol based sanitizers, by avoiding to touch our face again and again. The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of secretion or discharge from the nose once associate infected person coughs or sneezes, therefore it’s necessary that all the precautions should be taken and public gatherings should be strictly avoided.
The virus originated from the country China and soon infected several other countries like – Italy, France, Spain, America and now even in growing economy India. This deadly virus has taken lives of various people till now all over the world, the cases of COVID-19 are rapidly increasing each and every day and the total no of positive cases in India has reached in Millions now. The government is taking all the precautionary measures to control the public few steps taken by the government are – Lockdown in whole country, applicability of Section 144 in different-different areas. Basically ‘Epidemic Act 1897’ is applicable in whole India, which has given powers to state and central government to control the current situation prevailing in the country.
Epidemic Act 1897 and Legal Implications/ Provisions
The Act was brought into force during the British Raj, it is basically a State Government Act, rather than Central Government, First applied in Mumbai (Maharashtra) during the spread of deadly ‘plague’ disease. It tries to protect the citizens in a particular area, it is a temporary Act which goes for a particular period of time. Routinely enforced across the country for dealing with outbreak of disease, The Act consists of 4 Sections which aims to provide for better prevention of the dangerous epidemic disease.
- Section 1- describes about the title and extent of the Act.
- Section 2- describes about the powers of State governments/UT’s to formulate regulations to contain about the outbreak about a particular disease. when the state feels that it is threatened with any serious outbreak and ordinary provisions of the law
are not sufficient to deal with the current going situation for the purpose, the state can take measures for the benefit of public.
- Section 3- describes about the penalties for not obeying any kind of regulations or order made under the Act for the time being in force. Six months of imprisonment or fine of Rs.1000 or both on the person who is disobeying the Act.
- Section 4- describes with the legal protection to implementing officers acting under the Act.
However, this was not the first or second time when the Act was evoked by the authorities, previously it has been evoked in the following states.
- 2018: Notification issued in Vadodara declaring ‘Khedkarmsiya’ village Cholera affected.
- 2015: Chandigarh implemented Act to deal with Malaria and Dengue.
- 2009: The Act was used to control the situation of Swine Flu in Pune. (The Swine flu was also declared as notified disease after this situation).
Biggest Epidemics in the History
- Plague of Justinian, Byzantine Empire (541-542AD).
It was responsible for highest number of lives lost in the epidemic in the history, nearly 100 million people died, which was half of the world’s population.
- Black Plague, Europe (1346- 1350).
50 million people died from plague that began in Asia, and was carried throughout the world it was spreader in Europe and after reaching Europe it killed 60% of the continent’s population.
- Longest lasting epidemic still ongoing: HIV/AIDS epidemic began in (1960). So far, this virus has caused 39 million deaths worldwide.
- Flu (1918): – 20 million people died.
- Modern Plague (1894-1903): 10 million people died.
- Asian Flu (1957-1958): 2 million people died.
The current pandemic ‘Coronavirus’ COVID-19 which is ongoing in the world has caused thousands of deaths till now and the number is still increasing rapidly day by day. The government and even the people of country has taken several measures, but as it is rightly said that every side has two aspects and to make something a success there is work of synergy. The government and citizens both are fighting against this pandemic and the priority has been given to ‘LIFE’, because as it is rightly said that ‘Jaan hai to Jaahan hai’. And with that effect the efforts are being made to safeguard the lives of people, and by the people.
Other Legal Implications Applicable in this Adverse Situation
- Provision of Section – 188 in Indian Penal Code
According to section 188 of Indian penal code, Whoever, knowing that, by an order promulgated by a public servant or the authority lawfully empowered to promulgate such order, he or she is directed to abstain from committing the 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 persons 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 tends 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. Hereby the government has clearly declared that if any person disobeys the order or tries to hinder the stable process will be liable for offence and will be punished under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code.
With the ongoing situations in a democratic country like India, where every problem or situation takes a religious or political turn it is very necessary that strict actions are to be taken to control the situation. People are protesting in the name of religion and political parties are making agendas and questions on the basis of decisions taken by the current government.
Provision of Section -144 Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC)
Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), 1973 gives authority to the Executive Magistrate of any state or territory to issue an order to prohibit the assembly of four or more people in a particular area. According to the law and order, every member of such ‘unlawful assembly’ or gathering can be punished for involving in rioting.
Section 144 is imposed in urgent cases of nuisance or apprehended danger of some event that has the potential to cause danger to human life or property. Section 144 of CrPC generally prohibits mass or public gatherings. If anybody violates this section, he/she attracts a term of jail for one month or fine up to Rs. 200 or even both.
Section 144 has also been put into force in past times to impose certain prohibitions as a means to protect and prevent protests that can lead to alarming situations or riots. The orders to impose Section 144 have been conferred to Executive Magistrate when there is an emergency in any kind of situation.
As we already know the deadly virus COVID-19 is contagious and it spreads very quickly as one person comes into contact of another person, ‘ It is always said that Precautions are better than cure’, and probably keeping this thing in regard and priority the government thought and imposed Section 144 so that mass gatherings could be avoided and government appealed people to stay at home, All the public places were shut down including the religious places like temples, mosque or church. As people in large groups can increase the number of cases and unfortunate luck of India and Indians that at the end this situation became a big problem when people in mass gathered at Nizamuddin, Delhi and infected several other people and pushed them into the ‘Tank of Death’.
National Security Act, 1980
‘It is always said that people are the real wealth of any nation’. But what happens when people only try to bifurcate the nation and tries to hamper the development process or in a situation where there is already some devastating situation going on in the country? To protect the interest of Nation in any such kind of situation National Security Act was brought into place. The National Security Act is a stringent law in nature that gives the power to government to opt for an option of preventive detention for months, if the officers, working authorities and officials are contended that a person is or can a threat to national security of the country or even the process of law and order, recently it was invoked in Madhya Pradesh against 3 people in case of cow slaughtering, the main object of the Act is to prevent the person from committing the particular crime, The notable provision in the Act is that even a foreigner can be charged under this Act, also a person can be detained for up to 12 months without a charge. As far as the present situation is concerned the provisions of the Act are being used and under this Act number of people from ‘Tabligh-e-jamaat ’has been detained as they became a ‘Hotspot’ for increasing the number of positive cases in spite of several warnings.
Conclusion and Suggestion
As the country is going through the crisis for time being more consolidated steps are to be taken, because sometimes people are trying to take law and order in their hands , it’s a two way fight from this deadly virus which cannot be won solely on the basis of efforts done or precautions taken by the government, the support of public is equally important, but some people are going against the government with the intention of spreading hatred and negativity and are not following the instructions of the authorities and are even spreading the religious tensions , Social Media or we can say ‘Media’ which is said to be the 4th pillar in the democracy has now not been that transparent, several messages, posts , videos are being circulated across the globe without even checking their authenticity. Which has resulted in washing the brain of people and somewhere has enticed them to go against their own government.
Its harsh but reality, India is a developing nation where people from diverse culture and religion are residing, but during the time of any calamity or unstability everyone tries to stand as a single nation.
Not only with the way of taking the practical steps but also the Prime Minister is trying to boost the confidence and strength of public by addressing them at regular intervals. Because to fight with a certain situation a person must be mentally fit and strong , till now the acts like
– ‘clapping for people’ who are working for the betterment and safety of people living at homes, ‘ lighting of diya’ at homes etc., are already done by public on appeal of Prime Minister.
To safeguard the pockets of general public, RBI has also taken several important steps to give relaxation to the middle class and lower middle class families, steps like distributing the food packets, giving money to daily wage workers, arranging the travel facility for the poor people migrating from one place to another, setting standards for the delivery at homes etc. are few notable work which the government has taken up till now , Even the people are showing their contribution by donating funds according to their strength in ‘ PM – CARES FUND’ which tries to help the weaker sections of economy who can’t even earn a single living during the day. People are vastly supporting and dealing with the situation with a positive perspective of getting things normal very soon.
With the passage of time the things will come to a normal situation as compared to other countries India has still a control in its hand. What needed is that public and government both together should not leave any stones unturned. As soon as the situation becomes stable, the markets should be opened and a normal way of living the life should be started, people should invest more and more in the economy of its own country, purchasing should be done from its own country so that flow of money in the economy could take place and financially economic stability could be attained. Moreover, strict actions should be taken against the people whether they are of any religion who tries to hinder the public order and tries to damage the situation in the name of religion, as no religion teaches to attain peace by putting other people’s life at big risk. The country has already dealt with no of serious tensions, but the unity and support of public has overcome all the catastrophe all together.
LawSikho has created a telegram group for exchanging legal knowledge, referrals and various opportunities. You can click on this link and join: