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'Suspects of COVID-19 need empathy rather than FIRs'

Suspects of COVID-19 need empathy rather than FIRs

New Delhi: With rising Covid-19 cases in India, lesser known IPC sections including IPC Section 269 ( Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 270 (Malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) are now into force.

However, the enforcement of these sections have received some criticism from the public as it appears that the suspects or patients having or developing symptoms are scared to turn up to police or doctors fearing the social stigma attached to it.

In case of the security guard in Defence Colony, who skipped his duty after the high profile family suspected him to have infected them while bringing in the essentials, the police have registered a case against the guard under Section 188/269/270 of IPC.

The SHO of Defence Colony who went to the extent of cautioning the residents about drivers, domestic helps, and guards shows how even the law enforcing officials are suspecting the low income group as potential carriers of the deadly disease.

"The violators are being booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and Section 3 of Epidemic Diseases Act. Around 250 FIRs have been lodged till now in Delhi in different police stations against people found deviating from home quarantine rules/conditions," said a senior Delhi police officer.

Earlier, Bollywood playback singer Kanika Kapoor was booked under 188/269/270 of IPC after she was earlier tested positive for Coronavirus and also attended a party that was attended by MP Dushyant Singh and former Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje. The politicians then went

into self-quarantine and later declared themselves 'negetive' on Twitter.

Later, seven persons including Maulana Saad of Nizamuddin Markaz were booked under relevant sections. Many believe it was a situational crisis because of the lockdown.

In Uttarakhand, two members of Tablighi Jamat have been booked under attempt to murder charge after they failed to present themselves to the administration for medical examination.

Many believe that the patients or suspects of Covid-19 need empathy rather than FIRs. Though law is essential but only when it treats all people alike.

"The government tried to cover up its own failure to contain the migrant exodus from Delhi by creating a distraction of Tablighi Jamat. Minority has always been the tried and tested shield to cover up failures. Now look at Karnataka Chief Minister Yedurappa who defied his own order against

any gathering and went ahead to attend a marriage where more than 2,000 people were

present. If the law to spread infection and disobeying public servant order is applicable, actions should be same for all irrespective of the class

and social status of the person," said Faizan Mustafa, legal expert.

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