UP: Life term if corona-patient causes death by "intentional affliction"
The Uttar Pradesh Cabinet has cleared the Public Health and Epidemic Disease Control Ordinance, 2020, which prescribes a life term for coronavirus patients if "death is caused by intentional (COVID-19) affliction". Further, the Cabinet said those attacking health officials and frontline workers will invite a jail term of up to seven years and a maximum fine of Rs. 5 lakh. Here are more details.
The punishment for "intentional affliction" was mentioned in Section 24 of the Ordinance. It says that a person infecting another with the contagious disease will be punished with 2-5 years of rigorous punishment. The following section, Section 25, defined mass affliction as infecting five or more people. Chief Secretary RK Tiwari said intentionally here "is the same as defined in legal terms".
Further, Section 26 reads, "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." The fine could be between Rs. 3-5 lakh.
UP has also come up with strict punishment for those who don't reveal their COVID-19 diagnosis or travel by public transport, despite being infected. For both these offenses, a jail term up to 1-3 years has been prescribed and a fine of Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 1 lakh. The Ordinance's Section 30 claims that all these offenses will be cognizable and non-bailable.
"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," says Section 31 (1). The Ordinance will now be sent to Governor Anandiben Patel.
Further, the UP government included provisions for punishment to those who attack healthcare workers. "There is a provision for punishment ranging from six months to 7 years, and fine ranging from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 5 lakh for assault or misbehavior with health workers, paramedical staff, police personnel, sanitation workers or any corona warrior deployed by the government," state Finance Minister Suresh Khanna said.
"There will be strict action against those who spit on corona warriors, throw filth on them, violate isolation norms during quarantine or incite people to attack or misbehave with corona warriors," Khanna added.
UP also said those breaking quarantine rules will invite 1-3 years of a jail term or a fine of Rs. 10,000 to a lakh. Coronavirus patients who run from hospitals will be imprisoned for 1-2 years and will have to pay Rs. 10,000-1 lakh. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will chair a State Epidemic Control Authority whereas DMs will head district-level epidemic control authorities.