Spitting an offence: Section 51 of Disaster Management Act

The Ministry of Home Affairs issued guidelines for Lock Down 2.0 that was extended till May 3, 2020. According to the new guidelines, spitting in the public was made offensive under National Disaster Management Act.

Highlights

The guidelines also had made wearing masks in public places mandatory. Spitting has been made punishable under Section 51 of Disaster Management Act. Refusal to abide by the order shall lead to imprisonment till one year.

Section 51

Under the section, a person denying to obey orders passed under the act is punishable.

Why Disaster Management Act?

States such as Bihar, Telangana, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Maharashtra, Assam and Nagaland have banned the use of smokeless tobacco products. Other states have taken no action against spread of COVID-19 through spitting in public places. With COVID-19 made a “notified disaster”, order passed under the Disaster management act applies to whole of India

The feasibility and time constraints are bigger on the other way out. For instance, the GoI shall instruct state governments to pass laws or orders against spitting. In the current scenario, implementation of these order by state governments will bring upon political constraints and damage the efficacy of the order.

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