UP clears ordinance with a punishment of life imprisonment for deliberate infection of COVID-19

Uttar pradesh: Making the Epidemic Act of 1897 more stronger, the UP cabinet cleared The Uttar Pradesh Public Health and Epidemic Disease Control Ordinance, 2020, on Wednesday, that prescribes life imprisonment for anyone who intentionally infects another person with COVID-19 & consequently causes death.

The Centre had passed a similar ordinance last month that stated 7 years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5 lakhs in case of attack on health workers.

Amit Mohan Prasad, the State Principal Secretary (Health), during a press conference gave details of the ordinance and said that state ordinance has wider range and provides protection to doctors, paramedical staff, sanitation workers, police personnel, ASHA workers and any such person deployed by the government at the forefront of battling coronavirus from any kind of harassment or violence, including obscenity, spitting, garbage thrown at them etc.

In accordance with “punishment for intentional affliction”, Section 24 of the ordinance says that any person who “intentionally” infects another person with a contagious disease shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for 2-5 years.

Section 26 states that “whoever causes death by affliction under Sections 24 and 25, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than seven years but may extend to imprisonment for life”, and shall also be liable to pay a fine ranging from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.

said for violation of quarantine rules, the person can be imprisoned for 1-3 years and made to pay Rs 10,000 -1 lakh. Those who escape from hospital can be imprisoned for 1-2 years and made to pay Rs 10,000-1 lakh.

The punishments have been defined under different categories including “concealment” and “travel by public mode of transport”. The punishment for both these offences is imprisonment for 1-3 years and a fine of Rs 50,000-1 lakh. 

Under the proposed law, all defined offences shall be cognizable and non-bailable according to Section 30. Meanwhile, Section 31(1) of the ordinance says that, “No suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings shall lie against any person for anything, which is done or intended to be done in good faith in pursuance of this ordinance.”

Further, the government will set up two authorities for prevention and treatment of the disease: the State Epidemic Control Authority chaired by the CM, and district-level epidemic control authorities chaired by the district magistrates.

The ordinance will be sent to the Governor for approval.

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