The Governor of Karnataka Vajubhai Vala, on April 22, promulgated the 'The Karnataka Epidemic Diseases Ordinance, 2020', to protect all officials engaged in COVID-19 related duties and for the regulation and prevention of epidemic diseases as decided by the Government.
As per the ordinance whoever obstructs any officer or any Public Servant while acting or purporting to act or discharging any duty in pursuance to any provisions of this ordinance, rules, regulations or orders made there under, shall on conviction be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with a fine which may extend to fifty thousand rupees.
Further the ordinance prohibits causing damage to public or private property. Whoever contravenes the provision shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to three years and with fine which may extend to fifty thousand rupees.
In addition to the punishment specified the offender shall also be liable for a penalty of twice the value of public or private property damaged and loss caused to the public or private property as determined by the Deputy Commissioner after such enquiry as he deems fit. In case the offender has not paid the penal amount under sub section (1), the said amount shall be recovered under the provisions of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964 (Karnataka Act 12 of 1964) as if it were to be an arrears of land revenue.
Deputy Commissioner may by notification make provisional attachment of his property available and direct seizure and forfeiture of property towards such dues subject to making it absolute by the competent court. Offences under this ordinance are to be cognizable and bailable.
Where an offence has been committed by a Company, every person who, at the time the offence was committed was in charge of, and was responsible to, the company for the conduct of the business of the Company, as well as the company shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished.
By promulgating the new law, the government has repealed the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 (Mysore Act II of 1897) and the Hyderabad Infectious Diseases Act, 1950 (Hyderabad Act XII of 1950). From the date of commencement of this Ordinance, (From April 22, 2020) the provisions of Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 (Central Act 3 of 1897) shall have no application to the State of Karnataka.
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