Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Coronavirus: PM Modi calls for 21-day lockdown; essential goods, services excluded; violators charged under Disaster Mgmt Act [Guidelines]

Bar & Bench

In a significant development in the fight to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced a complete lockdown for 21 days.

The lockdown will take effect from midnight on March 25 and continue for three weeks, PM Modi announced today.

A number of goods and services will be exempted from the Coronavirus lockdown.

While offices of the Central and State governments will remain closed, defence, police forces, fire and emergency services, disaster management, prisons, post offices etc. fall under the exceptions.

Also falling under the exceptions are hospitals, public utilities (including petroleum etc, power generation units, electricity, water, sanitation.

Commercial and private establishments shall all be closed down. However, shops dealing with food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairies, meat and fish, animal fodder etc. will remain open.

Delivery of all essentials including food and medicines is also exempt, as are banks, insurance offices and ATMs.

Telecom, Internet, print and electronic media, petrol pumps, private security agencies are among those services that are also exempt.

All transport services - air, road and rail - are suspended. Exceptions include transportation for emergency services, fire, law and order, and essential goods.

Educational institutions and places of worship shall remain closed. Social gatherings for various purposes are barred. For funerals, not more than 20 people may congregate

Wherever exceptions have been provided, organisations are required to take preventive measures against COVID-19, including social distancing.

A release by the Union Health Ministry also lists the penal provisions of the Disaster Management Act under which those not following the directions of the government will be held liable.

Sections 51 to 60 of the Act enumerate offences relating to obstruction, false claims and warnings etc. The maximum punishment under these offences is up to two years' imprisonment with fine.

Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code may also be invoke in any case of disobedience to orders duly promulgated by public servants. This offence carries a prison term of up to six months and/or fine of Rs. 1000.

[Read the order issued by the Home Ministry]

order copy.pdf

[Read the Guidelines on exemptions]

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