A day after the Maharashtra government announced new restrictions including a night curfew, the Mumbai police on Monday issued prohibitory orders imposing night curfew on weekdays and a ‘strict lockdown’ for weekends from 8pm on Fridays to 7 am on Monday. They have also reintroduced the ‘essential services travel pass’ for essential service workers during curfew hours.
On Monday, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (operations) S Chaitanya issued prohibitory orders under section 144 of CrPC, which will remain in force till April 30 unless withdrawn earlier, as stated in the order. The fresh order prohibits gathering of more than five people at public places in the city from 7am to 8pm, from Monday to Friday. While a ‘strict lockdown’ will be enforced during weekends, no one can move around in public places without a valid reason from 8pm on Friday to 7am on Monday.
Following Covid-19 appropriate behaviour, including wearing masks and maintaining social distancing at public places has been mandatory, police said. The Mumbai police also reintroduced its ‘essential services travel pass’ system for essential services workers travelling during restricted hours.
“The pass is mandatory for essential services workers for travelling during curfew hours. Those with old passes can still use them while other essential services workers can apply for new passes at the divisional assistant commissioner's offices,” said Chaitanya.
Those found violating the new curbs will be booked under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 188 (disobeying public servant’s order) along with the provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act and Disaster Management (DM) Act, said the DCP in his order.
Violating section 188 could attract simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or with fine which may extend to Rs 200, or both.
Sections 51 to 60 of the DM act lays down penalties for specific offences. Anyone found obstructing a public servant from performing their duty will be imprisoned up to one year, fined, or both. If such an act of obstruction leads to loss of lives or imminent danger then there is a provision for up to two years of jail.
The Act is also being used to rein in the circulation of fake news. People found intentionally making false claims to get benefits from the government can be booked under the section 52 of the Act, in which there is a provision of jail term up to two years. For anyone circulating ‘false alarm’, there is a provision of a one-year jail term, as per section 54.
Further, section 58 holds that if an offence is committed by a ‘company or body corporate’, the person holding the charge at the time of the offence will be held responsible. The provision helps to ensure workplace allow employees to work from home or that they pay employees their due wages.
The fresh restrictions have been imposed in the city as well as in the rest of the state amidst the worsening pandemic situation. Maharashtra has been the worst-affected state in the country, accounting for 57 per cent of the nation’s total Covid cases and 47 per cent of deaths over the last two weeks.