Punjab Village and Small Towns Act invoked in Panchkula
A British era law was recently invoked in Panchkula to help with enforcing the quarantining and social distancing measures.
About the Act
The Punjab Village and Small Towns Act was enacted during the British colonial period in India in 1918. It was enacted to make provisions for ‘the performance of nightly patrol duty by the inhabitants of villages and small towns’ in case of an emergency.
Powers under the Act
The act gives certain powers to the Deputy Commissioner of a district in Haryana or Punjab:
- He/ she has the power to secure the public safety by ordering all ‘able-bodied adult male residents’ to patrol the villages.
- The time period of the order is decided by the Deputy Commissioner.
- The method of selection and the number of people for patrolling is decided by the District Commissioner.
Non-compliance with the orders passed according to the provisions of the act is liable to punishment. Violators will have to pay a fine, not exceeding 100 INR to the village panchayat or the Deputy Commissioner of the district.
The act was recently invoked by the Deputy Commissioner of Panchkula in Haryana to aid with the lockdown. The order was passed under section 3 of the act. The order has made all able-bodied men of the region liable to be on patrol duty- both during the day and night. They will make sure that people follow the social distancing rules and will check people entering the region without valid passes.