New Delhi: During the nationwide lockdown if anyone is found obstructing any officer or employee from duty can be imprisoned for a term of one year. The period can be extended to even two years along with a penalty. But what empowers the government to do this? The invocation of the Disaster Management Act 2005. The Act was invoked soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the three-week lockdown across the country on Tuesday evening. Also Read - Coronavirus Pandemic: Strike These Immunity-Boosting Yoga Poses at Home During Nationwide Lockdown
The Act also mentions penalties for government officials. Here’s an excerpt from the Act: Also Read - Priyanka Chopra Jonas Uncovers Coronavirus Myths With WHO Experts- Watch Video
Punishment for false claim: Whoever knowingly makes a claim which he knows or has reason to believe to be false for obtaining any relief, assistance, repair, reconstruction or other benefits consequent to disaster from any officer of the Central Government, the State Government, the National Authority, the State Authority or the District Authority, shall, on conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, and also with fine. Also Read - Coronavirus Lockdown: ICC Video Conference on Friday to Discuss Contingency Plans
Punishment for misappropriation of money or materials, etc: Whoever, being entrusted with any money or materials, or otherwise being, in the custody of, or dominion over, any money or goods, meant for providing relief in any threatening disaster situation or disaster, misappropriates or appropriates for his own use or disposes of such money or materials or any part thereof or wilfully compels any other person so to do, shall on conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, and also with fine.
Punishment for false warning: Whoever makes or circulates a false alarm or warning as to disaster or its severity or magnitude, leading to panic, shall on conviction, be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to one year or with a fine.
Offences by Departments of the Government: (1) Where an offence under this Act has been committed by any Department of the Government, the head of the Department shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly unless he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he exercised all due diligence to
prevent the commission of such offence.
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), where an offence under this Act has been committed by a Department of the Government and it is proved that the offence has been committed with the consent or connivance of, or is attributable to any neglect on the part of, any officer, other than the head of the Department, such officer shall be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.