Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Fines and penal action in South Andaman District: National directives for COVID-19 Management issued by MHA



Port Blair, Apr 21
    The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Govt. of India is satisfied that the country is threatened by the spread of COVID-19, which has been declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) and has thus considered it necessary to take effective measures to prevent its spread across the country.
· In exercise of the powers, conferred under Section 10 (2) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the Union Home Secretary, in his capacity as the Chairperson, National Executive Committee, issued an Order dated 14th April, 2020, and subsequent orders dated 16th April and 19th April, 2020 that the lockdown measures stipulated in the Consolidated Guidelines of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for containment of COVID-19 epidemic in the country, will continue to remain in force up to 3rd May, 2020 to contain the spread of COVID - 19 in the Country.
· The consolidated guidelines will not apply in containment zones, as demarcated by States / Union Territories (UTs)/ District Administration. If any new area is included in the category of a containment zone, the activities allowed in that area till the time of its categorization as a containment zone, will be suspended except for those activities as are specifically permitted under the guideline of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India.
· In exercise of the powers conferred under Section 10 (2) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 the Union Home Secretary, in his capacity as Chairperson, National Executive Committee, issued directions to all the Ministers / Departments of Government of India, State / Union Territory Governments and State / Union Territory Authorities for the strict implementation of consolidated revised guideline, the Clause 4 (ii) of which provides that State / UT Governments may impose stricter measures than these guidelines as per requirement of the local areas.
· In exercise of the powers conferred under Section 24 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the Chief Secretary, A&N Administration, in his capacity as the Chairperson, Union Territory Disaster Management Executive Committee, issued an order dated 18th April, 2020 directing that;

i.    The consolidated revised guidelines shall not apply to the whole of the South Andaman District in accordance with the provisions of Clause 2(iii) of the guidelines applicable to Hotspots and containment zones. The South Andaman District has been declared by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare as a Hotspot District with clusters vide DO No. Z-21020/16/2020-ph dated 15.04.2020.

·     National directives for COVID-19 Management were issued by the MHA as Annexure-I in its Order dated 15th April, 2020 and endorsed by UT Administration vide its order dated 18th April, 2020 are to be enforced by the District Magistrate through fines and penal action as prescribed in the Disaster Management Act, 2005. It mandates the following:

-  Compulsory wearing of face cover in all public places, work places.
-  Strict maintenance of social distancing in Public places, work places and transport, as per the guidelines of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
-  No gathering of 05 or more persons by the organization / manager of a public place.
-  Spitting in public spaces shall be punishable with fine.
-  Strict ban on sale of liquor, gutka, tobacco etc.

·     Clause 17 of the Consolidated Revised Guidelines allows movement of the Persons in the following cases:
17(i) Private vehicles for emergency services, including medical and veterinary care and for procuring essential commodities. In such cases, one passenger besides the private vehicle driver can be permitted in the backseat, in case of four-wheelers, however, in case of two-wheelers, only the driver of the vehicle is to be permitted.
(ii) All personnel travelling to place of work and back in the exempted categories as per the instructions of the State UT local authority.

·     As per Section 51(b) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, whoever, without reasonable cause refuses to comply with any direction given by or on behalf of the Central Government or the State Government or the National Executive Committee or the State Executive Committee or the District Authority under this Act, shall on conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year of with fine or with both and if such obstruction of refusal to comply with directions results in loss of lives or imminent danger thereof, shall on conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years.

·     Now therefore, in exercise of the power conferred under section 51 (b) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, Shri Abhishek Dev, District Magistrate, South Andaman District has prescribed the following fines to be imposed on the violators for refusing to comply with the guidelines issued by the National Disaster Management Authority, Government of India.

Sl No.
Violation
Penalty
1.
Clause 17(i) of Revised Comprehensive Guidelines
(a)  Owner/driver of the private vehicle (four wheeler) carrying more than one passenger excluding driver .
Rs. 1000/-
2.
National Directives for COVID-19 Management.
(a) Non-wearing of a face cover in public places and workplaces.
Rs. 500/-
(b) Violation of social distancing norms by persons who are in charge of public places, workplaces and transport.
Rs. 2500/-
(c) Organization/managers of public places allowing gathering of more than 5 or more persons.
Rs. 5000/-
(d) Spitting in public places.
Rs. 1000/-
(e) Illegal sale of liquor.
Rs. 15000/-
(f) Illegal sale of gutka and tobacco.
Rs. 2500/-
3.
Violation of social distancing norms by individual(s) in public places, workplaces and transport.
Rs. 1000/-
4.
Urinating in public places.
Rs. 1000/-

All Sub-Divisional Magistrates, Executive Magistrates, Revenue officials of the rank of Patwari and above, Sanitary Inspectors of the PBMC, Panchayat Secretaries of the RD Department and police personnel of the rank of constable and above have been authorized to impose and collect fines as mentioned above. However, this does not bar any other legal action that may be attracted due to violation of any other act / law / rule in force.
All fines shall be collected through TR-5 receipts and deposited to the respective SDM offices within two days of collection, which in turn shall arrange to remit the same into the Government account under Major Head 0070 -Other Receipts. A daily statement of the fines imposed and collected by the respective officers shall be submitted by the SDM (SA) by 6 PM every day to the District Magistrate, South Andaman.
The order has come into effect from 21st April, 2020 and shall remain in force till the pandemic of COVID - 19 is over as declared by the Andaman and Nicobar Administration or till further orders.



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