Yogi Adityanath led Uttar Pradesh government has cleared an ordinance on Wednesday levying heavier fines and punishment, including life imprisonment, for harassing the frontline workers in the coronavirus pandemic. The new ordinance deals with harassment of the workers including indecent behaviour, escaping from hospitals or purposefully failing to report to healthcare workers if they are showing coronavirus symptoms.
The Centre has passed a similar ordinance in order to protect the health workers but the ordinance cleared by the UP government is extended for protection of health workers, paramedical staff, sanitation workers, police personnel, ASHA workers, and any such person deployed by the government front in the battle against coronavirus from any kind of harassment and violence including unhygienic acts like spitting, throwing garbage, etc. Penalities will be cognizable and non-bailable.
Stringent Punishment for those intentionally spreading infection
The most stringent punishment is reserved for someone who intentionally infects another person who may later succumb to the disease. In such a case, a rigorous punishment of seven years to life imprisonment has been prescribed along with rupees 3 lakh to 5 lakh.
So those intentionally or purposely spread it in the community can be punished for 5 years to 10 years and fined from 3 lakhs to rupees 5 lakhs. The Principal Secretary of Health department, Amit Mohan Prasad said that the ordinance has not been brought in with the purpose of penalizing people as much as to encourage them to report to concerned agencies if they suspect that they perpetrated. He revealed that for spitting on health workers, throwing garbage on them, and inciting others to attack or misbehave corona warriors, the cabinet has approved of imprisonment for three months to five years and a fine ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakhs. The accused can be jailed for six months to seven years if they provide severe damage to health workers. Damage of property will also call for punishment.
Violating the quarantine norms will be punishable by imprisonment of one to three years and a fine ranging from rupees 10,000 to 1 lakh. A similar punishment has been prescribed for those too who escape from the hospital.
Punishment for those indulging in indecent conduct
As some perpetrators were reported to be indulged in the obscene and indecent conduct in last month, the ordinance also includes punishment for the same. A fine of rupees 50,000 to rupees 1 lakh will be imposed on those indulging in indecent behaviour with health workers. On Wednesday, five members of Tablighi Jamaat were arrested for having misbehaved with nurses in Ghaziabad during quarantine period.
For intentionally not disclosing their health condition, the person will be liable for punishment of one to three years and a fine ranging from Rupees 50,000 to rupees 1 lakh. If a patient of confirmed coronavirus or suspected case is traveling through public transport like buses, trains or flights intentionally, the maximum fine can be of rupees 2 lakh.
State epidemic control authority to be formed under CM
As per reports, a state epidemic control authority will be formed under the Chairmanship of the Chief Minister with seven other members including the Chief Secretary. District magistrates will also head a three-member District Epidemic Control Authority in their respective areas. Amit Prasad said, “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.”