The Kerala government has authorized all the District Magistrates in the state to invoke provisions of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) as and when required to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Sec 144 of CrPC authorises the Executive Magistrate of any state to issue an order to prohibit the assembly of four or more people in their area of jurisdiction.
The order said, "In exercise of powers conferred on the state under section 2 of The Epidemic Diseases Act, l- 897, to maintain public health and order, the Government of Kerala issues the following regulations: All religious and cultural festivals, tournaments, group competitions and mass gathering of people at public places, parks, beaches, theatres, malls etc are prohibited."
"The District Magistrates are authorized to invoke provisions of Section 144 CrPC, as and when required to prevent the spread of epidemic under intimation to Additional Chief Secretary (Home)," it added.
The order also told all healthcare institutions in the private sector including hospitals and medical colleges to provide information on the availability of total beds, hospital rooms, hostel rooms, corona testing equipments, ICU beds, ventilators and any other relevant data on COVID-19 to COVID Control Room established at State Disaster Management Authority in Trivandrum.
"Hoarding of essential commodities will be dealt with severely as per existing laws in force. Collectors and District Magistrates and the District Police Chiefs are hereby empowered under section 2 of The Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 to enforce this order.
"Any person who disobeys any part of this order shall be deemed to have committed an offence under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code. These regulations shall come into force with effect from March 22," it added.
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