Mizoram enacts ordinance to curb lockdown breach

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After Rajasthan, Mizoram has promulgated an ordinance to tackle violations of personal and public safety, public hygiene, lockdown measures with stringent punishment. It gives broader powers to officials in a bid to curb the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a top official, here on Monday.

Mizoram is the first state in the northeastern region to promulgate the Mizoram (Containment and Prevention of COVID-19) Ordinance, 2020 on Sunday, stipulating imprisonment up to three months and a fine of Rs 5,000 for violations of personal and public safety norms.

Law and Judicial Department Secretary Marli Vankung said the provisions would be in addition to provisions of any other law in force.

“According to the provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 and the IPC (Indian Penal Code), the authorities have to follow certain procedures and legal formalities and these takes some time. The ordinance would give wider power to the authorities to take quick and immediate action against violators,” she told IANS over phone.

The ordinance comes a week after eight teenagers were beaten by some people for violating the lockdown.

The ordinance, approved by the cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Zoramthanga on Saturday, said, “no suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings shall lie against any person authorised under this ordinance for anything, which is done or intended to be done in good faith under this ordinance.”

According to the ordinance, the offences include, entering or staying at any public place without mask, failing to maintain social distancing protocols in public places, spitting in public, organising any social or religious event without permission from the competent authority, crossing borders by exiting or entering the state without permission, avoiding or attempting to evade quarantine and or isolation at designated quarantine facility.

The ordinance also barred the exposure and display of the identity of Covid-19 patients and suspected persons by sharing their biodata and or photo in the print, electronic and social media without permission from the competent authority. “The offences shall be non-cognizable, non-compoundable and bailable, triable by any judicial magistrate,” the ordinance said.

For violations of the provisions of ordinance, the minimum punishment will be Rs 100 fine and the upper limit will be imprisonment up to three months and a Rs 5,000 fine or both.

Mizoram, which shares an unfenced 404 km international border with Myanmar and 318 km with Bangladesh, has only one Covid-19 patient. A 50-year-old Christian pastor from Mizoram had tested positive for coronavirus on March 24 after he returned to Aizawl from Amsterdam, the Netharland, via Delhi and Guwahati on March 16.

He is undergoing treatment at the Zoram Medical College and Hospital in Aizawl while his wife and two children”s swab samples tested negative and they are staying at home.

Health officials said four people, including two women, from Mizoram tested positive for Covid-19 in Maharashtra in the third week of April. All the four people, three of them cancer patients, along with their relatives had been living at Mizoram House in Mumbai.

A doctor from Mizoram, who worked at a in a Meghalaya hospital, also tested positive for coronavirus in Shillong on April 14.

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