Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus all over the world several countries have issued lockdown in their various states or cities in order to tackle this communicable disease.
1st lockdown was made by china in their city “WUHAN” which is said to be the originating or birth place of the COVID- 19 (coronavirus). But India is the 1st country in the world to order the lockdown of the entire country in one go i.e. Indian govt has ordered all 1.3 billion people in the country to stay inside their homes for three weeks starting from 25th March 2020. This is the biggest and the most strict action undertaken anywhere in the world to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
But before the lockdown in the entire country Indian govt issued a Janta curfew for one day on 22nd march 2020.
Today through this article we will understand the difference between the lockdown and curfew as terminology can get a little confusing along with it we will also understand the section 144 of CRPC as different states are using different measures in order to control the spread of the coronavirus one of which is section 144 of crpc.
To understand difference between these 3 in a simple language, we will say that –
In order to control the situation of any state 1st Section 144 of crpc is imposed and if it doesn’t work than Lockdown and in last curfew basically the difference between the 3 is of their severe nature.
Section 144 Crpc, 1973
This section basically provides the power to Executive magistrate or District Magistrate to pass an order in the interest of public. The order passed under the section 144 crpc is basically a prohibitory order which prohibits an individual or persons residing in a particular area or place or the general public from visiting any place or area.
The order passed under this section can be in force only for the 2 months from the date of making but it can be extended further for 6 months from the date of making of an order by the state government if it considers it necessary for preventing any danger to human life, health or safety.
The word lockdown is not a legal term. The lockdown can be enforced by a collector or chief medical officer in a particular area by deriving power from Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897. This act basically gives the power to the state government sweeping discretionary powers to mould restrictions as per the need. This also gives them the power to restrict the assembly of 5 or more people in close quarters.
What happens in a lockdown?
Under lockdown people are required to stay indoors except if they are accessing essential services and commodities such as hospital or buying groceries.
Under a lockdown, the police do not have the power to arrest anyone who is violating the lockdown without the court’s permission. Infact they can only give them warning and advice people to go home. But if the person doesn’t listen to the police then the police may arrest the person under section 269 and 270 of IPC as it relates to the public health.
Basically section 269 says that if a person negligently does any act, which he knows or has reason to believe to be, likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life, will be punished with imprisonment which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.
And section 270 talks about that any person who knows that he has some kind of disease and still knowingly he moves around people in order to infect them he will be punished with imprisonment which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
It is basically imposed by the District magistrate only and under it even all the essential services are shut down. Only administration and police personnel are allowed on the streets.
The biggest question here is what is been imposed right now in India?
Basically the state government has used combination of the Epidemic Diseases Act and Section 144 of crpc to impose the restrictions as law and order is a state subject and each state has its own laws and its implementing measures depends upon the resources it has. So, in short we can say that lockdown is imposed in whole India along with the curfew depending upon state resources.
Below table covers certain differences between the Lockdown and curfew:
|Movement||No passes required||Special passes required|
|Essential services||Available||Only emergency services available|
|Exemptions||List of exemptions available||Very few exemptions|
|Mass gatherings||Prevents public gathering||Can only gather to avail essential commodities like food and medicines during relaxed timings|
|Violation||May or may not any legal action taken against the violators||Strict action by police and administration|