Amendment in the Epidemic Act, 1897 : Needed or not?

Amendment in the Epidemic Act, 1897 : Needed or not?


From ancient time itself, society is well aware about what is wrong and what is right, therefore it has always evolved towards curbing the wrong and promoting the right. But it becomes stagnant if there is no deviation in it, which hardly happens. When deviation is present in the society, there comes the role of regulation. Amidst this pandemic crisis too, restricting common man to their homes, making them maintain social distancing is not an easy task. Majority of the society might be satisfied with the steps taken by the authorities and they must be following it. Deviation is always curbed by laws and the laws gets best implemented when they bring penal provisions with itself. No law without penalties can be effective in stopping the deviants from doing an immoral Act. Therefore, with the new situations, new challenges, new types of deviation and the totally changed scenarios, these penal provisions also evolves itself. The Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 hereinafter referred as the EDA grants special powers to State so that it can take the measures needed to contain any epidemic for  which the government thinks that the existing laws in ordinary course of action are not sufficient. These measures may include inspection of people travelling through railway or their segregation in the hospitals or at their accommodations. Violation of the act attracts penalty from section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (Act 45 of 1860) hereinafter referred as the IPC. The EDA provides immunity from suits or legal proceedings to any person who acts in good faith while believing himself to be acting under the provisions of this act. Few days back, Government of India was forced to amend the EDA and include the provision of imprisonment up to seven years in case of attack on health professionals after doctor’s body gave warning of protest. When the most important professionals in this crisis that is the health staff, went for testing in certain areas where they suspected corona patients, they were attacked brutally.

If the health professionals themselves will be under fear then how can others expect them to work with full devotion for the people. They were facing the fear
to such an extent that they decided to go on a strike to demand their safety. It is one of the worst one can expect where a person has to demand from government their security and safety for the bona fide work done by them. So to keep them motivated and ensure their security, new provisions were introduced in the Act, and no reports of violence against the doctors has been reported after the amendment. It shows, the step was effective enough. But if government is forced to take such steps then it somewhere shows that we are not evolving in a good manner rather this evolution is becoming a threat for the society.  If the government has to issue guidelines for the safety of those who are working for our safety, then in no manner can we call our society matured enough. If we do not know how to respect the health professionals and cops who are performing their duties by staying away from their families then at least we should appreciate and support them. But the picture here looks completely opposite. Government is forced to bring stringent laws to protect them from the society itself. These acts of attacking the doctors and cops is actually threatening the fight itself. Rather than being sympathetic or understanding, these steps are creating problems for us only and in this situation government is left with no other option than to make stringent laws.

Written by:- Sahil Yadav

Pursuing B.A.LL.B. from G.G.S.I.P.U.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Rohit

    Very nice

Leave a Reply