India Needs A New Epidemic Control And Management Law

India Needs A New Epidemic Control And Management Law

Abhipsa Panda_JudicateMe


This Blog is written by Abhipsa Panda from KIIT School of Law, OdishaEdited by Harshita Yadav.



India’s reaction to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has so far been affected dominatingly by three distinct laws – the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 (EDA); the Disaster Management Act, 2005 (DMA); and the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC). After the revelation of the pandemic as an “informed calamity”, the National Executive Committee of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), set up under the DMA, has been forcing the evaluated lockdowns and giving occasional rules to states for authorizing the lockdowns. At the same time, both the local and state governments have depended on EDA to address the wellbeing part of this fiasco. Be that as it may, individuals abusing lockdown orders are being charged under sections 188, 269 and 270 of IPC. The utilization of such an impromptu lawful design with a variety of sculptures has brought about an interwoven reaction against the pandemic in a few regions. The old three-page-and-four-area EDA doesn’t characterize what comprises a “risky pandemic illness”. It gives unbridled capacity to the official to react to the sickness by the method of proclaiming laws or guidelines, yet without due consideration to the social and reputational remaining of the individuals influenced because of the pandemic. So also, DMA, went as a quick reaction to the 2004 tidal wave, is to a great extent confined for compelling readiness, alleviation and dealing with a characteristic or man-made cataclysm, accident or a fiasco, for example, tidal waves, seismic tremors and tornadoes. These occasions are typically geologically restricted disastrous occasions, upsetting ordinary life for a couple of hours or days, however not at all like a general-wellbeing pandemic, don’t keep going over an extensive stretch of time. As opposed to catastrophic events, physical departure of individuals from an influenced zone to a moderately sheltered zone isn’t a choice during a pandemic because of the probability of the spread of the disease. The wellbeing level of a general public’s prosperity is dictated by the thoughts which take genuine shape over the span of its day by day self-constitution.


To change and even reclaim such a general public, we need to change those characterizing thoughts. The nature of our human life is a component of our deciding thoughts. Law plays a noteworthy and basic job which is likewise liable for the formation of an endlessly intricate system of legitimate relations associating each and every person of a general public. Our individual and social conduct gets its beginning from the law, which is liable for the improvement of social reality. In the current circumstance, COVID-19 in our world is an eye-opener for us all, as a network, as residents and even as a country.


Pandemics are huge scope episodes of irresistible illness that can extraordinarily build grimness and mortality over a wide geographic region and cause critical monetary, social, and political disturbance. Proof proposes that the probability of pandemics has expanded over the previous century as a result of expanded worldwide travel and reconciliation, urbanization, changes in land use, and more noteworthy abuse of the common habitat [1]. These patterns likely will proceed and will heighten. Critical approach consideration has concentrated on the need to recognize and constrain rising episodes that may prompt pandemics and to extend and support speculation to manufacture readiness and wellbeing limit [2]. The worldwide network has gained ground toward planning for and alleviating the effects of pandemics. The 2003 serious intense respiratory disorder (SARS) pandemic and developing worries about the danger presented by avian flu drove numerous nations to devise pandemic plans [3]. Postponed revealing of early SARS cases additionally drove the World Health Assembly to refresh the International Health Regulations (IHR) to propel all World Health Organization part states to fulfill explicit guidelines for identifying, providing details regarding, and reacting to flare-ups [4]. The system set up by the refreshed IHR added to a progressively organized worldwide reaction during the 2009 flu pandemic [5]. Global benefactors likewise have started to put resources into improving readiness through refined norms and financing for building wellbeing limit [6]. In spite of these upgrades, noteworthy holes and difficulties exist in worldwide pandemic readiness. Progress toward meeting the IHR has been lopsided, and numerous nations have been not able to meet essential prerequisites for consistence [7]. Various flare-ups, quite the 2014 West Africa Ebola plague, have presented holes identified with the opportune discovery of infection, accessibility of essential consideration, following of contacts, isolate and confinement methodology, and readiness outside the wellbeing area, including worldwide coordination and reaction preparation [8]. These holes are particularly apparent in asset restricted settings and have presented difficulties during moderately limited plagues, with critical ramifications for what may occur during an undeniable worldwide pandemic.


The lockdown has been completed by State governments and locale experts [9]. Under the Act, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) was set up under the initiative of the Prime Minister, and the National Executive Committee (NEA) was led by the Home Secretary. On March 24, 2020, the NDMA and NEA gave orders coordinating the Union Ministries, State governments and specialists to take compelling measures to forestall the spread of COVID-19, and spread out rules delineating which foundations would be shut and which administrations suspended during the lockdown time frame. Submitting a general direction to the rules, the State governments and specialists practiced forces under the Act [10] to give further headings. For example, the Health and Family Welfare Department of Tamil Nadu gave an administration request on March 23, 2020, to force social separating and confinement estimates which coordinated “suspected cases and remote returnees” to stay “under exacting home isolate” and individuals “to remain at home and come out just for getting to fundamental and basic administrations and carefully follow social removing standards”. Hence, on March 25, the previous request was stretched out for a time of 21 days, as per the bearings of the NEA. Locale specialists, for example, the Commissioner of Police, Greater Chennai, have therefore given requests to force Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 out in the open spots.

The Ministry of Home Affairs said that the expenses towards isolate ought not surpass 25% of the state calamity alleviation store’s distribution for the year and use on hardware for labs and gear ought not to surpass 10% of the absolute allotment. The law accommodates corrective measures for offenses under the Indian Penal Code, 1860, to rebuff individuals defying a local official approved to complete headings given by the state government. As of late, FIRs have additionally been enrolled under Section 269 of the IPC against individuals who escape isolation in medical clinics. Area 269 of the IPC rebuffs any individual who unlawfully or carelessly submits any demonstration that is probably going to spread the contamination of any infection perilous to existence with detainment as long as a half year as well as fine. The arrangements of the Disaster Management Law are to be summoned as phenomenal measures to moderate and control loss of human lives. The same number of have noted, it is astonishing that provincial time laws like the Epidemic Act and the Indian Penal Code despite everything establish the rampart of the administration resistance framework in doing combating scourges [11]. While the reaction of the general wellbeing framework has been splendid, when the flare-up is contained, the Parliament must find a way to survey the calamity the board laws to make an extensive legitimate system and proper conventions to adequately handle any future general wellbeing emergency.


Reports propose that the State power has been practiced for capturing people spreading counterfeit news on the illness, capturing people gathering in huge numbers notwithstanding mandates of the administration, capturing people not following home isolation and sharing freely the rundown of suspected patients. Utilizing over the top force without straightforwardness has generally demonstrated a negative effect on the network investment. Being constrained into unhygienic isolation and issues in getting to basic administrations is developing the doubt among individuals and the State. Two people have as of now purportedly passed on because of self destruction dreading the sickness and many speculated patients have slipped off open emergency clinic offices. The current guidelines on COVID-19 permit states to rehearse the coercive activities practically identical to those attempted by the pioneer government. These activities have just put limitation on development, free discourse, religion, calling and protection. The limitations are lawful in as much as they are fundamental and proportionate to a real point.


In particular, there must be an away from of a “pandemic malady” to guarantee a severe and away from between the activity of a crisis resolution and the resumption of customary laws. Remarkable occasions, for example, the coronavirus pandemic require exceptional measures. In any case, even in the midst of crises, the laws must not fall quiet. Open trust is reinforced just when sufficient straightforwardness and responsibility measures are set up by governments with the goal that the open itself can pass judgment on the proportionality and sensibility of the administration’s activities.


[1] (Jones and others 2008; Morse 1995)

[2] (Smolinsky, Hamburg, and Lederberg 2003)

[3] (U.S. Division of Health and Human Services 2005)

[4] (WHO 2005)

[5] (Katz 2009)

[6] (Wolicki and others 2016)

[7] (Fischer and Katz 2013; WHO 2014)

[8] (Moon and others 2015; Pathmanathan and others 2014)

[9] Union Ministry of Home Affairs under the Disaster Management Act of 2005.

[10] Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897


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