Indian Express Explained 24th-25th 2020

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1)Explained: What is hantavirus?

The hantaviruses are a family of viruses spread mainly by rodents. A person can get infected if he/she comes in contact with a rodent that carries the virus.

A person infected with the virus may show symptoms within the first to eighth week after they have been exposed to fresh urine, faeces or the saliva of infected rodents.

This is non communicable, does not spread from people to people.

Symptoms may include fever, fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, chills and abdominal problems. Four to ten after being infected, late symptoms of HPS may start to appear, which include coughing and shortness of breath.

2)Explained: Why govt has raised excise duty cap on fuel amid coronavirus scare

In a move which would help the government to raise excise duty on fuel further in future, the government has raised the cap on special additional excise duty on petrol and diesel to Rs 18 and Rs 12 per litre, respectively, as per the amendments in the Finance Bill passed.

Why the hike?

Every rupee hike in excise duty is expected to yield roughly Rs 13,000-14,000 crore annually.

The slump in global crude oil prices enables the government to raise these duties substantially without immediately putting the burden on the consumer.

But there is expected to be a demand slowdown for fuels with a nearly country wide lockdown in the wake of coronavirus.

With airlines, railways, trucks and passenger cars going off the roads, petrol, diesel and ATF (aviation turbine fuel) consumption is expected to fall drastically.

Government is increasing duties on petrol and diesel to raise revenues in view of a tight fiscal situation.

Slump in global crude oil prices, alongside possibility of a global economic recession, has forced the government to look for avenues to raise revenues to support growth.

3)What is Section 188 IPC, under which you will be booked for violating COVID-19 lockdown?

Those violating the lockdown orders can face legal action under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, which lays down punishment as per Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, for flouting such orders.

What is Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code?

Section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, provides penalties for disobeying any regulation or order made under the Act.

These are according to Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant).

Section 188, which comes under the Code’s Chapter X, ‘Of Contempts of the Lawful Authority of Public Servants’, reads:

Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant.

Whoever, knowing that, by an order promulgated by a public servant lawfully empowered to promulgate such order, he is directed to abstain from a certain act, or to take certain order with certain property in his possession or under his management, disobeys such direction,

shall, if such disobedience causes or tends to cause obstruction, annoyance or injury, or risk of obstruction, annoyance or injury, to any persons lawfully employed, be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both;

and if such disobedience causes or tends to cause danger to human life, health or safety, or causes or tends to cause a riot or affray, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.

Explanation.—It is not necessary that the offender should intend to produce harm, or contemplate his disobedience as likely to produce harm. It is sufficient that he knows of the order which he disobeys, and that his disobedience produces, or is likely to produce, harm.”

4)Explained: With lockdown on, what you need to know about the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897

History of the 1897 Epidemic Diseases Act

The colonial government introduced the Act to tackle the epidemic of bubonic plague that had spread in the erstwhile Bombay Presidency in the 1890s.

In 1897, the year the law was enforced, freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak was punished with 18 months’ rigorous imprisonment after his newspapers Kesari and Mahratta admonished imperial authorities for their handling of the plague epidemic.

The one-page Act, which consists four sections, aims to provide “for the better prevention of the spread of Dangerous Epidemic Diseases”. Section 2 empowers state governments/UTs to take special measures and formulate regulations for containing the outbreak.

It reads:

“Power to take special measures and prescribe regulations as to dangerous epidemic disease.—

(1) When at any time the State Government is satisfied that the State or any part thereof is visited by, or threatened with, an outbreak of any dangerous epidemic disease, the State Government, if it thinks that the ordinary provisions of the law for the time being in force are insufficient for the purpose, may take, or require or empower any person to take, such measures and, by public notice, prescribe such temporary regulations to be observed by the public or by any person or class of persons as it shall deem necessary to prevent the outbreak of such disease or the spread thereof, and may determine in what manner and by whom any expenses incurred (including compensation if any) shall be defrayed.

(2) In particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provisions, the State Government may take measures and prescribe regulations for—

(b) the inspection of persons travelling by railway or otherwise, and the segregation, in hospital, temporary accommodation or otherwise, of persons suspected by the inspecting officer of being infected with any such disease.”

Section 3 provides penalties for disobeying any regulation or order made under the Act. These are according to Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant).

Section 4 gives legal protection to the implementing officers acting under the Act.

 

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