Can the police arrest you if you do not comply with the lockdown directed by the Government of Nepal?
Nepal has been in lockdown since 23 March 2020. The Government of Nepal has been extending lockdown thereafter with the increase of Covid 19 infection cases; the current extension applicable up to 27 April 2020. The Government of Nepal has ordered the lockdown following the power vested upon it to do so by Section 2 of Infectious Disease Act, 1964 (2020) (“Act”) which states that the government may issue necessary orders to the general public for the control or eradication of the contagious diseases. Government may also arrange for an authority with necessary rights to bring the disease under control. Government may also order quarantine or lockdowns and supervise and control movement of people and transfer of goods and supplies, just as the government is doing now.
With the increase in threat of spread of pandemic, Coronavirus Control High-Level Task Force has recently decided to tighten security and monitor those violating lockdown. Orders have been issued to Chief District Officers (“CDO”) to take measures based on the provisions provided by the Act.
Not only the federal government, even the state governments could issue necessary directives and orders pursuant to Section 2(a) of the Act for their respective states. However, use of this provision by the state government is yet to be seen.
Sanctions and Authority:
Any person violating the orders issued pursuant to the Act may be sanctioned under Section 3(1) of the Act with a fine of up to NPR 100.00, or imprisonment of up to one month, or both for violating the Act. Furthermore, a person who obstructs an authorized officer to perform his duties under the Act may be liable for fine of up to NPR 600 or imprisonment of up to six months or both pursuant to Section 3(2) of the Act.
The Act under Section 4 has provided the Chief District Officer with the authority to decide all cases related to the Act.
With such threat of rapid spread of the virus and already jammed up jails and custodies of the government of Nepal, imprisonment might not be a healthy sanction to pursue.