Spreading COVID-19 Virus, Culpable Homicide ?

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This article is written by Priyanka Bajpai , student of Amity Law School, Chhattisgarh.

COVID-19, currently the only concern for Indian Government and its citizens. The more it is been spread, the more each one of us has to suffer. All of us has made our mind set to stay home and to be safe from corona virus. What if someone comes to your house, knowing that he is infected with COVID-19 and end up infecting everyone there in your house? This sounds like a big crime that has been committed by him.

Well it is a crime. It is culpable homicide amounting to murder. India government has declared that any person infected with COVID-19 becomes reason for infecting any other , would be liable for Culpable Homicide not amounting to murder under Sec304 of IPC.


Sections under IPC that are to be dealt with .

Spreading COVID-19 maliciously would result in Culpable homicide not amounting to murder. This part of discussion also covers certain sections of IPC that deals with spreading infection of disease that are dangerous to life.

Section 269  in The Indian Penal Code 

269. Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease danger¬ous to life –
Whoever unlawfully or negligently does any act which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe to be, likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.

Relating to current situation , this section states that if anyone knows or has a reason to believe that he is infected by COVID-19 virus, and that it is likely to spread dangerously if he moves out negligently, he is liable under this section.

Section 270 in The Indian Penal Code
270. Malignant act likely to spread infection of disease danger¬ous to life.—Whoever malignantly does any act which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe to be, likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

This would be same as that of Sec269 with the only difference if the act is Malicious, it would come under Sec270 of IPC.

Section 299 in The Indian Penal Code
299. Culpable homicide.—Whoever causes death by doing an act with the intention of causing death, or with the intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, or with the knowledge that he is likely by such act to cause death, commits the offence of culpable homicide.

This would clearly show that the act of spreading corona virus by anyone would direct lead to culpable homicide.

Section 304 in The Indian Penal Code
304. Punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.—Whoever commits culpable homicide not amounting to murder shall be punished with 1[imprisonment for life], or imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine, if the act by which the death is caused is done with the intention of causing death, or of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, or with fine, or with both, if the act is done with the knowledge that it is likely to cause death, but without any intention to cause death, or to cause such bodily injury as is likely to cause death.

The punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder would lead to the punishment of imprisonment of 10 years.
These sections can be related directly to COVID-19 situation and care needs to be taken by each individual or else law will do its job at the end.

Events that led a mass to come together.
India has brought charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against the chief of a Muslim seminary for holding a gathering last month that authorities say led to a big jump in coronavirus infection. Police initially filed FIR against the chief of center, Muhammad Saad Khandalvi for violating the ban on big gatherings but later filed for culpable homicide against him. Thousands of followers including some from Malaysia , Indonesia and Bangladesh were present there in the Jamaat. There were around 2500 jamatees in total at the Tablighi Jamaat Event in Delhi.

Similarly, 100s of people gathered at an event in the state of Karnataka . This event was a temple chariot event that took place in the hotspot of COVID-19. This took place at the Lord Siddhalingeshwara Temple at Kalaburagi. People were returned back and some were even punished.

This do not end here. Even the Gurudwaras at Punjab were also open and amid COVID-19 pandemic. When asked them to close these gurudwaras, they said “availability of masks and sanitizer is there”. After explaining them the situation and the need for lockdown, one of the spokesperson of SGPC’s said ,” Jis jagah te log theek hunde han, ussnu aise kyun band karange”

This is the most difficult time for the management because they have to walk the tightrope between Blind Faith and Reason. At this time, these religious institutions need to be kept close for the sake of the citizens of India.

All these cases were seen and were managed, but what actually made situation worsen was the Tablighi Jamaat Event , that took the coronavirus meter, jump miles. Government suggested Culpable Homicide for those who were the reason for such act that led to infection of this disease. Some jamatees even started hiding with the fear of being kept in quarantine. They never mentioned there visit to that event and kept it a secret, that resulted in the infection spreading to their own family. They further moved and met n number of people resulting it infect more and more people. People spitting on others and leaving hospitals even after being diagnosed of coronavirus should come under Culpable Homicide. This was considered as Culpable Homicide.

Conclusion
COVID-19 is a pandemic and surviving this would be easy for India , if all of us together as Indians support our Government, doctors, and other workers , to the best of our ability. India’s decision to charge Culpable Homicide against anyone who is, with his bad intentions, responsible for any other getting infected with coronavirus is no wrong. And anyone doing such an act is no less than a criminal and should be dealt under criminal laws. The charges of Culpable Homicide should continue and the person should be made to face the punishment of 10 years imprisonment. This decision of Government would lead people to disclose the truth if they are infected and would make them stay at their home and not infect anyone with this virus. In the end, its only one thing, STAY HOME , STAY SAFE.

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