Udayavni Special

K’taka promulgates ordinance to punish those creating trouble during epidemics


Team Udayavani, Apr 23, 2020, 8:13 AM IST

Bengaluru: An ordinance making acts of non- cooperation during epidemics punishable with a maximum jail term of three years and providing for attachment of properties for damage to assets was promulgated in Karnataka on Wednesday, arming the government in its fight against COVID-19 in the backdrop of attacks on healthcare personnel.

The Karnataka Epidemic Disease Ordinance, cleared by the state cabinet on Monday, was promulgated in the backdrop of attacks on healthcare personnel in the state, including the recent incident in a city area where ASHA health workers and police personnel were thrashed when they went to quarantine contacts of a COVID-19 case.

It also came on a day when the Union Cabinet approved a similar measure making such acts non-bailable offence with maximum punishment of seven years and Rs five lakh fine.

According to the state ordinance, anyone convicted for obstructing any officer or public servant from discharging their duties during any epidemic can be imprisoned for up to three years and a maximum fine of Rs 50,000 can be imposed.

Also fixing identical jail term and fine for causing damage to public or private property in any area when regulations are in force to contain any epidemic disease, the ordinance provides for double the value of the damage as fine and in default attachment of properties of the convicts.

Promulgated by the state Governor, the ordinance is to consolidate the laws relating to the regulation and prevention of epidemic diseases in the state.

Under the ordinance, when there is an outbreak of any epidemic disease, to prevent it”s spread the government may take measures, including sealing of borders, restrictions on transport and quarantining people, and empower Deputy Commissioner and Municipal Commissioners to exercise powers specified.

According to the ordinance, whoever abets any offence under this ordinance shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees or with both.

All offences under this ordinance shall be cognizable and bailable. If an offence under this Ordinance has been committed by a company 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 of its official, he or she shall also be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.

On Sunday, health workers and police were attacked in minority-dominated Padarayanapura when they went there to quarantine contacts of a COVID-19 patient.

A total of 119 people have been arrested in connection with the incident, which drew condemnation from various quarters, including Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa.

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