Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) bill passed in Lok Sabha

Published: September 22, 2020

On September 21, 2020, Lok Sabha passed Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill 2020. It was first introduced in Rajya Sabha. The bill amends the Epidemic Diseases act 1897.

Highlights

The act is being amended to protect Health Care personnel combating in the front line against pandemic and epidemic. The bill replaces the epidemic diseases (amendment) Ordinance that was promulgated in in April 2020. The bill also expands the powers of Central Government in preventing the spread of pandemic diseases.

Definitions in the bill

The bill defines the health care professional as a person who is at the risk of contracting the epidemic disease when he or she is carrying out his or her duties. This includes both public and clinical Healthcare providers. It also includes any person who has been empowered under the act to make prompt measures in order to prevent the outbreak of the disease. It also includes other persons that are designated by the respective state governments.

The Bill also defines act of violence. This becomes important because during the initial stages of the outbreak of covid-19 several patients refuted to co-operate with nurses and doctors. In due course, they even engaged in Act of violence. Tablighi jamaat was one such scenario where the participants of the event refused to co-operate with the health care professional. The Tablighi Jamaat was a muslim conference.

The act of violence has been defined as following

  • acts that impact living or working conditions
  • the acts that harm hurt injured are creates danger to life
  • damage to property documents of Healthcare personnel
  • obstruction in discharge of duties

Compensation

Persons who are convicted under the will have to pay compensation to the health care professional whom they had hurt.

Powers of Central Government

The act empowers the central government during a pandemic situation in the following ways

  • The Government of India can inspect any ship or vessel that is arriving or leaving a port.
  • It allows detention of a person who intends to travel from the port during the outbreak

Central Government can inspect trains buses ships vessel aircraft that all living or entering a port or an aerodrome

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