Contextualizing Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 in Epidemic-Pandemic Syndrome of COVID-19 in India
Md.Zafar Mahfooz Nomani, Rehana Parveen
India's first case of novel coronavirus (COVID-2019) detected on January 30, 2020, in the State of Kerala, and the government switched to alert mode. As the number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases discerned an increase, the government clamped Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 on March 11, 2020, by mandating the norm of social distancing and the voluntary public curfew in the country. The nation-wide Lockdowns-I (March 25, 2020, to April 14 2020), II (April 15, 2020, to May 3 2020), and III (May 4, 2020, to May 17, 2020) justified on the ground of Sections 6, 10, 38 and 72 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.During the lockdown period, the protection of medical and paramedical forces has been a central concern in controlling novel COVID-19 pandemic in India.Therefore, the State also invoked quarantine disobedience under sections 188, 269, 270, 271 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 on command and control theory but unable to control the riotous situation working against medical care personnel. Realizing this exigency, the President under Article 123 of the Constitution of India, 1950 promulgated the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020. To deal with the miscreants effectively, the Ordinance declares ' act of violence' cognizable and non-bailable with high deterrent value. The paper contextualizes the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 in controlling horrendous Epidemic-Pandemic Syndrome of COVID-19 in India in historical and contemporary perspective.