The world is facing a global crisis due to the outbreak of COVID-19. It is a challenge for all of us but in this need of the hour we all are facing legal problems like hoarding of essential commodities or termination of employment, even after the explicit orders of Central and the State Govts.
As we all know, COVID-19 is declared as a pandemic by the WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION. The Disaster Management Authority has come into the picture and the DISASTER MANAGEMENT ACT, 2005 has been applied throughout the country and the authority has come into play.
Various sections of the DISASTER MANAGEMENT ACT, 2005 you need to know:-
1. SECTION 51:- If you obstruct or refuse to comply with any direction given by any Central Govt or State Govt officer or employee and did not let them do their job without a reasonable justification.
PUNISHMENT- One year or fine or both and if your obstruction endangers life then the imprisonment of two years.
SECTION 52:- If you make a false claim just to reap benefits of this act or from Central Govt or from State Govt. PUNISHMENT:- Two Years and fine.
SECTION 53:- HOARDING OF ESSENTIAL MATERIALS If someone is entrusted with money or essential materials and they are misappropriating it/selling more than the MRP or willfully compels others to do it for their own benefits. PUNISHMENT:- Two years with fine.
SECTION 54:- SPREADING OF FALSE INFORMATION WHICH CAUSES PANIC- This includes all social media messages that are creating panic in the area. So, before sending any message, check if it is authentic, truthful or not. Restrain yourself from sending any false rumours.
PUNISHMENT- One year or Fine.
SECTION 55:- OFFENCES BY DEPTS BY GOVT- If any officer or public servant commits any offence, the head of the Dept will be preceded as enumerated here. Except in the case, they prove that the said act is done without their knowledge or done with due diligence.
SECTION 56:- PUBLIC SERVANTS NOT PERFORMING THEIR DUTIES PUNISHMENT-One year or fine.
SECTION 57:- PENALTY IF CONVENTION OF ANY ORDER BY GOVT- The Central Govt or State Govt can ask any of us for the assistance they need. If you are not obeying with the order of LOCKDOWN, in that case, you can be prosecuted under this section as well as relevant provisions of Indian Penal Code, 1872.
PUNISHMENT:- One year or fine or both SECTION 58:- OFFENCES BY COMPANIES- The heads of the companies will be prosecuted and punished as per the act. If you find any person doing any of the offence aforesaid;- You can make a complaint within 30 days specifying the offence and your intention to file to the National Authority, the State Authority, the Central Government, the State Government, the District Authority or any other authority or officer authorized.
Now, lets come to relevant provisions of INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860. If you are not following the lockdown, then you can be prosecuted for the aforesaid offences:-
SECTION 188:- If you are not obeying with the orders of Public servants (POLICE comes under this definition)
PUNISHMENT:- 1 month or fine @ Rs. 200/-. If the disobediences causes danger to human life(TODAY'S SITUATION)- 6 months or fine @ Rs. 1000/- or both.
SECTION 269:- If any person acts negligently and does any act which spreads infection (COVID-19) PUNISHMENT- 6 months or fine or both.
SECTION 270:- If you are doing any act endangering or threatening human life (i.e. going out of your home)
PUNISHMENT:-2 years or fine or both. The last portion of this article, If you are being threatened, by your employers for termination or reduction of wages.
Here are notifications of Central Govt and some State Govts. to all the private/commercial/public establishments:-
CENTRAL GOVT NOTIFICATIONS - Order dated 20.03.2020 passed by Ministry of Labour & Employment, Joint Secretary:- 'In the backdrop of such challenging situation, all the employers of Public/private establishments are advised to extend their coordination by not terminating their employees, particularly casual or contractual workers from job or reduce their wages.' -
Order dated 20.03.2020 passed by Ministry of Labour & Employment, Secretary to Govt. of India- 'In the backdrop of such challenging situation, all the employers of Public/private establishments are advised to extend their coordination by not terminating their employees, particularly casual or contractual workers from job or reduce their wages.'
DELHI GOVT. NOTIFICATIONS- Order dated 20.03.2020 by Delhi Govt- 'All contractual/outsourced employees who are directed to not come to office shall be paid their wages/honorarium in full and shall made themselves available at all time through electronic modes of communication like Mobile, Landline, Phone, E-mails, Whatsapp etc.
Order dated 22.03.2020 by Delhi Govt.-
'The employees of private establishments (including temporary/contractual/outsourced etc.) required to stay at home in view of the order shall be treated as 'ON DUTY' and be paid in full'.
CHANDIGARH NOTIFICATIONS - The Chandigarh Administration, vide Endst No. F-2071/F-II(6)-2020/5023, in exercise of the Epidemic Diseases, COVID-19 Regulation, 2020 issued by the Administrator UT Chandigarh has ordered that " The employees of private Establishments/ Industries/Factories/ Shops etc., (including temporary/casual/ contractual/ outsourced/daily workers) who are required to stay at home in view of the orders of Chandigarh Administration shall be treated as 'on duty and be paid in full".
GUJARAT NOTIFICATION - Advisory from Government of Gujarat dated 21.03.2020 to Not Terminate Employees or reduce wages in view of COVID-19 Pandemic.
HARYANA NOTIFICATION - Advisory from Principal Secretary Department of Labour, Haryana bearing no 7047-7127 dated 23.03.2020 to Not Terminate Employees Or Reduce Wages In View Of COVID-19 Pandemic.
KARNATAKA NOTIFICATION- The Deputy Secretary, Department Of Labour and Employment has issued advisory in view of outbreak of COVID-19. In view of the same and consistent efforts of the government requesting citizens to remain at home and worker/employee will be constrained to abstain from the work periodically. Noting that employer may dispense with the services of the worker or may force the worker or employees to go on leave without wages/salaries. The termination of employee from the job or reduction in wages in this scenario would further deepen the crisis and will not only weaken the financial condition of employee but also hamper the efforts to combat the present crisis. Hence in the backdrop of such challenging situation all the employers of public/private establishments are being advised to extend their coordination and not to terminate any employee particularly casual or contractual worker from the job or reduce their wages. If any worker takes leave, leave may be granted without any consequential deduction in wages for this period. Further if the place of employment is to be made non operational due to COVID-19, the employee of such unit should be deemed to be on duty.
ORISSA NOTIFICATION- Government of Odisha vide notification No. 748-824 has issued guidelines to the Government Offices and Private Establishments in the State of Odisha in the view of prevailing epidemic situation of Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). As per the notification, Private establishments may be advised to allow their employees to work from home as far as possible and feasible. If working in office/shop floors/commercial establishments is essentially required, such work may be managed with minimum number of employees during this period. Please refer to the notification for detailed information.
TELANGANA NOTIFICATION- The Government of Telangana vide G.O.Rt.941, in exercise of powers conferred under Section 13 and Section 31(2) of the Telangana Shops and Establishment Act, 1988 has ordered all shops and establishment other than those exempted shall be closed during notified lock down period i.e. from 22nd March 2020 to 31st March 2020 in public interest and shall be declared as paid holiday for all categories of employees. -
UTTAR PRADESH NOTIFICATION- Government Of Uttar Pradesh vide notification no. 09 /2020/446 /xxxvi- 03-2020-30(sa)/2020 has issued certain regulations to all the Shops and Commercial Establishments and Factories on account of COVID-19 and shall come into force with immediate effect . As per the notification, the Employee/Workmen affected by the COVID-19 or who are suspected to be affected by COVID-19 and kept in isolation shall be provided with paid leave of 28 days by their Employer on submission of medical certificate at the time of re-joining the duties after fitness. Employee/ Workmen of the Shops and Commercial establishment or factories which is closed temporarily by the orders of the State Government or District Magistrate shall provide holiday with Wages by the Employer for the period of such temporary closure. All Shops and commercial establishment or factories where ten or more employees/ workmen are employed shall display on notice board and main gate of the establishment safety measures prescribed by State or Central Government on COVID-19. Please refer to the notification for detailed information.
The author can also be reached at email@example.com