LUCKNOW: Giving teeth to the Epidemic Act of 1897, the cabinet on Wednesday cleared the
Uttar Pradesh Public Health
and Epidemic Disease Control Ordinance-2020 which levies heavy fines, including life
, for harassment of corona warriors, indecent behaviour, escaping from hospital or purposely failing to report to health services if showing symptoms of
The Centre had passed a similar ordinance protecting health workers.
But, UP’s ordinance has wider ambit 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
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from any kind of harassment or violence, including spitting, garbage thrown at them etc.
Penalties are cognizable and non-bailable.
The most stringent punishment has been reserved for someone who “purposely” infects another person who may then succumb to the virus. In such a case, the penalty of seven years rigourous imprisonment to life imprisonment has been prescribed, along with Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.
Those purposely spreads it in the community, could be punished for 5 years to 10 years and fined Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. The ordinance, said principal secretary, health,
Amit Mohan Prasad
, has not been brought in with the purpose of penalising people as much as to encourage them to report to concerned agencies if they believe that they have been infected with Covid-19. Prasad said that for spitting on coronawarriors, throwing garbage on them and inciting others to attack or misbehave coronawarriors, the cabinet has approved of imprisonment for three months to five years and a fine ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh. For grievous hurt to them, the accused can be jailed for six months to seven years and fined from Rs 1 lakh to 5 lakh. Damage to property also entails punishment.Violation of quarantine rules will be punishable by imprisonment of one to three years and a fine ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 1 lakh. For those who escape from hospital, a similar punishment has been prescribed.
If caught indulging in obscene and indecent conduct, as was reported against certain quarantine patients by some hospitals last month, a fine of Rs 50,000 to Rs 1lakh will be imposed. For not disclosing their condition purposely, a person is liable for punishment of one to three years and a fine ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh. If a Covid-19 confirmed or suspected person uses public transport like buses, trains or flights intentionally, the maximum fine can be Rs 2 lakh.
A state epidemic control authority will be formed under the chairmanship of the chief minister, consisting of seven other members including the chief secretary. District magistrates will also head a threemember District Epidemic Control Authority in their respective areas. “The state authority will advise the government in matters related to epidemic prevention control while the district authority will coordinate between various departments in the district,” said Prasad.
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