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Ayushi Mishra
How to File an FIR?
How To?

How to File an FIR?

A lot of confusion revolves around what exactly is the First Information Report (FIR)? How and where is it filed? Is there any time duration to file an FIR? And so on. This article attempts to solve all your questions related to FIRs and more to give a clear picture on the steps and processes involved in filing a FIR.

FIR is an indispensable document to a criminal matter as the investigation and collection of evidence by the police officer is initiated on the basis of the FIR. It basically sets the process of law and order in motion and initiates the due legal process against a crime.

To begin with, FIR can be explained by the following-

  1. The information is given to the police officer on duty.
  2. This is the first piece of information reported regarding the crime.
  3. The information must be of a cognizable offence.
  4. The information can be given either by the aggrieved person or any other person like a witness, family member etc.

The term FIR is defined under Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 as below-

  1. The nature of the crime which is reported in the FIR should be cognizable. Only when the offence is cognizable, a FIR would be lodged. The information must be in writing, or if it is given orally, it shall be reduced to writing by the officer-in-charge of the police station and must be read over to the informant. The FIR shall be signed by the informant and the record shall be entered into the book of the officer at the police station.
    The reduction of oral statement to writing and signature by the informant on the same is taken to discourage false, vague and irresponsible statements made by informants and placing responsibility upon them for the statement they make.If the informant refuses to sign the FIR, he would be punishable of offence under Section 180 of IPC.
  2. The copy of the information is given to the informant for free of cost.
  3. If the officer-in-charge of the police station refuses to lodge FIR, the aggrieved informant may send the information to the SP. And, if the SP is satisfied that all essentials of the information are fulfilled to be FIR then either he can investigate the case himself or direct the police officer subordinate to him to investigate the case.

The FIR can be filed by any person who is aware of that offence. He does not necessarily have to be victim, injured or eye-witness of the offence. The informant can lodge FIR on hearsay information and is not required to have first-hand knowledge of the facts.

The FIR has to be filed in the police station within whose jurisdiction the cognizable offence has been committed. If the FIR has been filed in a police station that does not have jurisdiction over the offence, it can initially be filed there and then be transferred to the police station of appropriate jurisdiction. This is known as Zero FIR. It is filed irrespective of the jurisdictional limitations and location of the offence to avoid delay in filing the crime and to avoid wastage of time which in turn may affect the whole process of investigation and collection of evidence.

The golden principle with respect to FIR is that it should always be filed at the very first instance without wasting any time. The instant filing of the FIR has some advantages and helps in the trial of the offence in the following ways-

  1. It gains credibility as report filed with delay may be incorrect or missing out on some important information
  2. The chances for tampering of evidences reduce.
  3. Delay in filing FIR causes suspicion.
  4. The Witnesses would be able to freshly recall the incident without any variances.

To help those victims who are not able to personally visit the police station due to travel constraints, bodily injury, saving oneself from shame or any other case, the government has introduced the concept of e-FIR.

An e-FIR can be filed for any cognizable offence on the online portal which differs from state to state. Some states have adopted the system of e-FIR and have created platforms for the same, while in some states, the concept of e-FIR is still not present or is under development.

To give an idea of how an e-FIR portal looks, some links have been provided for the reader’s reference-

  1. Delhi e-FIR system
  2. Himachal Pradesh e-FIR system
  3. Haryana e-FIR system
  4. Jharkhand e-FIR system
  5. Odisha e-FIR system

How to make a CV for a Job?
How To?

How to write the perfect CV for your desired Job?

While applying for jobs, the first impression is entirely made based on the CV of the applicant. Experienced candidates and entry level job seekers/interns have a huge difference in their CVs as they bring different credentials to the table. They cater to the needs of the organization in different ways. For instance, entry level applicants do not have a professional work record but they can show off their academic achievements, extra-curricular and co- curricular activities on CV which sheds light on their energy and ambitions. On the other hand, experienced and mature candidates should mention their accomplishments till date from various jobs and what they have learned along the way.

Creating a CV is a vital part in getting the desired job post you have got your eyes on. If you employ all the tips mentioned in this article, your CV would be in a top shape and there would be a surefire way of getting your CV noticed by the hiring managers.

What should a good CV contain?

Many people attend CV writing workshops for assistance or search for samples on the internet. This article would help you in identifying the relevant information and thus drafting the CV accordingly.

  • It should be smart and have a professional appearance.
  • It should convince the employers that they can trust the applicant with the job and skillsrequired.
  • Try to keep your CV only two pages long or shorter than that.
  • Never lie on your CV.
  • Keep only the relevant information in the CV which shall be job-specific. Keep in mind that your CV is not a life history, the purpose of a CV is only to help in securing an interview on the basis of your best accomplishments.
  • It should only document those qualifications and accomplishments which is relevant to the job you are targeting.
  • While listing your jobs, follow the reverse chronological order. This way, the most relevant information would be closer to the top.
  • When you are shifting a job, into a different field especially, mention and emphasize upon the transferable skills such as MS Excel proficiency, customer service, etc.

How Should Working Professionals Make a CV For Jobs?

A CV would be different for each job you apply for. Therefore, it is a good idea to draft a professional and polished CV including everything from the past job experiences and then edit and target this CV for a specific job position. Invest some time upon researching about the organization and modify your CV accordingly.

Given below are a few points to help you in drafting a perfect CV for your desired job position-

1. Format of the CV

Do not get too fancy with the design and format of the CV. Avoid making it very complicated and difficult to read; rather keep the format simple and clean. Do not fall into the bait of software programs that create CVs in a template for you after entering information. Avoid these templates and make your own format which is a good fit for you and your experiences. The hiring managers are smart enough to make out the difference between a self-made CV and a computer based CV. A self-made CV would leave the impression that you actually care enough to put efforts in making an efficient CV and that you are competent to work in the field. Begin with a blank Word document and develop your own format with headings suitable for you and the job.

  • Choose a format which is easy-to-read and does not take a lot of space like Arial or Times New Roman and keep the font size 12 for Headings and 11 for text.
  • Your name should be mentioned in bold and capitals at the top of the page. Mention the contact number and email just below it.
  • Write all the headings in bold and caps, but do not underline it.
  • Balance the white space and the text space in the document. It shall not look empty in someplaces and crowded in others.

2. Heading

The CV shall begin with personal contact information. The heading should include your name in bold and in capital letters and the phone number and email would be mentioned just below the name. Always mention only one phone number and email to avoid the confusion. Additionally, you may also provide the link of your LinkedIn profile if you want. Just make sure to keep your LinkedIn updated.

3. Education

Briefly describe your educational qualifications in 2-3 lines mentioning your post-graduation, graduation and 12th and 10th standard results. Things which must be mentioned are your school’s and college’s name, its location (city and state), your degree and month and year of graduation. These should be mentioned in reverse chronological order i.e. most recent first. If you are an experienced professional and have been working for many years since earning a degree then mention your educational qualifications after your work experiences. Because your work experience would be more relevant for the organization as you have spent a lot of time in the profession, they would want to see your contribution in the professional field.

4. Additional course details

Generally, only those institutions should be mentioned from which you received a degree or currently pursuing a degree. However, if you have attended and completed a course which is specifically related and relevant to the job position you are applying for, then do not forget to include that information too. It might give you an edge over other applicants.

5. Experience

Please note that this is the most important section of your CV for employers. This section takes up the most space on your CV so it is vital that you hone it.

Under experiences, you may include jobs, internships and volunteer work. Describe them all step-by-step.

Start with describing your work experiences first. Mention all your previous jobs with the name and location of the company, your title/designation in the company and period of employment. Then, describe your specific responsibilities and accomplishments in bullet statements. Be careful in mentioning only your accomplishments and not the list of your daily duties at the work.

Some points to keep in mind while describing your experience-

Always maintain the reverse chronological order while listing your experience i.e. start with your most recent position.

Describe only what is relevant for the job you are applying for. Your CV is not an autobiography therefore describe adequately what you did in each position.

The bullet points under each work experience are very important. It should briefly describe the duties and accomplishments of the applicant. It should not be more than 2-3 lines long and should be as specific as possible.
e.g. Instead of writing “Trained new employees in the office”, you can write “Trained five new part-time employees in mergers and acquisitions”.

In the bullet points, describe your most relevant and impressive achievement at the start and then continue describing the more common responsibilities. Add statistics and quantities in your description to make it look more reliable and responsible.

Use strong action verbs such as coordinated, developed, organized, etc. to explain your role in the organization more firmly. It emphasizes on the fact that you are proactive rather than reactive.

Try to avoid making personal evaluations on your own like “developed leadership skills or management skills”.

Describe the relevant internships in the same way.

6. Position of Responsibilities Held

Under this heading, you may mention certain positions which reflect your leadership and management skills like conducting conference, team co-ordinator, volunteering work, etc.

7. Awards and Honours

Under this heading, you can mention awards and honours received by you in the course of employment in the organization/s or in internships or college, if relevant.e.g. Best Legal Researcher, 2014, Vaish and Partners LLP, New Delhi or Best Researcher in B.R. Memorial Delhi, Moot Court Competition, New Delhi, 2012.

8. Skills

List out your specific skills relevant to your job interests like research, drafting, etc. You may also mention any specific certification or training received by you that is related to your field. Also, you may further include transferrable skills like MS Word, MS Excel, client counselling, etc. Combine your hard skills and soft skills to put out a range of skill set.

9. Co-curricular Activities

Mention your published and relevant articles, research papers or blogs, moot court competitions, etc.

10. Extra-curricular Activities

The focus is primarily on the relevant work, so you may have to limit the number of items included under this heading. But do not hesitate to summarize your role in community projects and clubs, campus organizations or professional associations. Select carefully those activities that demonstrate your skills and abilities.

Please note that you do not have to necessarily write all the things mentioned above. These points are just a guide for you to include only those things which suits the job you are approaching and mention them in a way that brings out the best skills and capabilities in you. Play with the words but keep it simple too. Try to keep it brief but attractive. Your CV should consume the recruiter in knowing more about you. Therefore, choose accordingly and flaunt your impressive achievements and job-specific skills.

A question frequently which comes up in the mind while drafting a CV for a job post is that how much work experience should be included in a CV? What about the people who are new to the job-hunting world and have no prior working experience?

To answer that-

  • The mid-level job seekers should include their detailed job descriptions of relevant positions and briefly mention any other position they have had held.
  • The entry-level job seekers should list out and describe all the paid-works he/she has done in the related professional field, particularly mentioning the responsibilities and achievements that are relevant for the job post.
  • The first-time job hunters are those who have no work experience. They can include the roles from their college days such as student organizations, internships, volunteering experiences, etc. This way they can fill out their experience section in the CV.

The Final Step

  • Reference/s

After having an experience of 2-3 jobs, you make many professional connections in your field. It would be a bonus point for you if someone from your profession writes a reference letter for you. References play an important role and increases slightly the probability of you securing the job position.

You can have more than one reference. The best way is to mention a reference on a separate sheet or at the end of the CV. Under this heading, mention the list of name and contact information of references, including title, place of employment, business address, phone and email of the reference. These information are necessary to be provided.

If you are mentioning a reference, it should better be a good one! A good reference is someone who knows you well and has supervised your performance in a work setting or academics. The reference should be credible too. It would be inappropriate to mention your close friends and family members as they are rarely considered credible references. People like faculty members, internship supervisors, current or former employers can serve as credible references.

The reference shall know your work style and strengths. Keep updating your references on your job status as they may receive a call from an organization at any stage and they shall be prepared to speak on your behalf and represent you in a positive light.

  • Proofreading

You are almost done with drafting a great CV, but don’t send it off just yet.

Organizations receive hundreds of CVs for any job openings from interested applicants. Make sure that you do not commit any mistake, even minor, to get yours rejected. Keep a check on spelling and grammatical mistakes as they do not only look bad but are also very unprofessional. These minor mistakes can hurt your chances for employment in the ocean of

CVs. Take your time to edit the final draft by keeping only the relevant information in only 2 pages. Get feedbacks from your mentors, friends, family or you can even approach professionals to proofread your CV.

Proofread, Revise and Send!

All the best!

How to Write a Powerful Cover Letter and Statement of Purpose
How To?

How to Write a Powerful Cover Letter and Statement of Purpose

After days of research and short-listing the jobs and internships you want to secure and after modifying your CV/Resume accordingly, you must wonder why you could not get the position you desired for?

Well CV is not enough for you to get that position. There is a next and a very important step to that which is attaching a cover letter and statement of purpose (SOP) with it. Whether your CV would be read by the organization depends upon the cover letter and SOP accompanying it. If you fail to make an impact by the cover letter and SOP, your CV would not be even read and be rejected.

With a CV full of achievements, nobody would want to risk the opportunity of getting that position in the organization just because of a dull cover letter and unorganized SOP.

In this article, we will find out how to write a powerful Cover Letter and Statement of Purpose that leaves a strong impact on the recruiter and convinces him to review your CV. The recruiters receive 20-30 applications per day. How is your application going to come in their notice? How are you going to convince him that you are a perfect candidate for the position? You need to work upon it to make it look different from others.

The cover letter and SOP are more or less same for everybody irrespective of whether they are job-hunting or seeking internships, whether they are students or graduates or experienced employees. The style and format are usually same for all groups of people. What matters is how well you represent your achievements and skills to attract attention towards your CL or SOP.

Difference between Cover Letter and Statement of Purpose

Many people do not know the exact difference between cover letter and SOP. They believe these are similar things and wonder why they have different names.

Well to clear your doubt, these two are very different from each other and both serve very important purposes. They play a big role in applying for jobs or internships.

A cover letter is like an elevator pitch wherein you get limited time to introduce yourself and sell yourself. It should mention your interest and knowledge about the organization. It should intrigue the reader and prompt him to review your CV or resume. The cover letter can give you an edge over other applicants, hence it should be upbeat and professional.

On the other hand, SOP is more like a short essay wherein you can portray yourself as a perfect fit for the program and become a promising candidate.

While you can send a SOP without attaching any additional materials, it is absolutely impossible to do the same thing with a cover letter. A cover letter always accompanies your CV or resume.

Before writing Cover Letter and SOP

The hardest part in case of writing any piece is getting started. Before you begin with writing your cover letter or SOP, you should make a list of few things for a better understanding. These are-

  1. Long term goals– You should be well aware of your long term goals. These goals will define your career and the academic path which you need to plan for that career. Also, your long term goals would help you as well as the recruiter to find out whether you are the right candidate for any particular job or position.
  2. What makes you unique– Uniqueness is different to everyone and therefore your unique traits can make your application attractive and different from others. Write down your particular achievement or experience or learning you might have. Do not forget to mention your natural personal characteristics that make you unique and an asset for the relevant position.
  3. How you overcome obstacle– Define your personal strengths that you utilize to overcome shortcomings and how will you use those strengths in the professional world.
  4. Influences in your life– Talk about things that influence you either personally or academically for the job or position.
  5. Interest about your field– Mention about the things of your field that interests you and gives you motivation. The tone should have enthusiasm.
  6. Academic learning– Mention about your academic learning, grades, research excellence, article writings, awards and honours etc. In case of law, highlight your moots, mock trials, internships, etc.
  7. Non-academic experience– Non-academic experience is equally important to mention as it balances your personality. Write about sports, any leadership quality, volunteer work, inspirational work, etc.

Now, once you have the list of these things with you, it can be used in your cover letter and SOP accordingly depending upon the requirements of the position you are applying for.

Also, before you start writing your cover letter and SOP, check out for any instructions given on the website of the organization regarding the font, font size, number of words, etc. You can also mail them and ask about the specifications of same. If there is no restriction then you should use Times New Roman with font size 12 and 1.5 line spacing. This is the most used and expected format in the professional world.

What is a Cover Letter?

The first challenge in securing a good internship or job in an organization is passing its cover letter and resumes screening. These days, more and more organizations are selecting candidates based on their cover letters in the job recruiting process. If you really want to secure that internship or job, focus extremely to tailor your cover letter right rather than preparing only a good CV/Resume.

It has been rightly said by David G. Jensen, founder of CareerTrax Inc and a speaker and writer on career issues, that-

“Let’s face it, cover letters are read and resumes are skimmed.”

As mentioned earlier, do not forget that cover letter is an elevator pitch and you have to sell yourself by way of this. The main aim of cover letter is to highlight the features of your personality that is not mentioned in the CV. Cover letters would be different for different jobs, hence do not send the same standard cover letter everywhere. Invest some time upon it to tailor it perfectly for the required job or position.

It has an opening paragraph, body and the closing paragraph. It need not be more than 3 paragraphs.

  1. If possible, identify and write the name of the person you are sending this cover letter to, generally HR, along with the name and address of the organization. You may go extra steps and find the information on LinkedIn. Do not use “to whomsoever it may concern”. This will reflect your sincere efforts and desire to get the position.
  2. Opening Paragraph- In the first paragraph, introduce yourself, academic achievements and qualifications and current position. Opening paragraph should catch the interest of the reader and make him want to keep reading further.
  3. In the body, describe your experience and skills to convince that you are the best candidate for the position. Match your past experience with the job requirements and mention how you can contribute to the growth of the company. Describe your professional expertise and accomplishments that are a relevant fit for the position. Politely describe how you are better than others by mentioning your awards and honours in the field.
  4. The closing paragraph of the cover letter should be optimistic and enthusiastic for getting the position. Be courteous by thanking the recruiter for his time. You can leave the closing remarks with statements like “hope to hear back from you” or “I would like to further discuss…”. You can also mention your total interest in the position by mentioning your availability to have an in person interview or whatever the requirements of the organization are. If you have any references, do mention them here in the closing paragraph.

Few other things that should be taken care of are-

  • Do not repeat information that is already given in your CV/Resume.
  • Include key words that are given in the job description of the organization. This would save you from rejection by organizations that specifically look for those keywords in the applications as they receive a dozen of applications per day.
  • Show your interest and enthusiasm for the position.
  • Frame and write your strengths very strategically so that your weaknesses do not get considered or become of little value to the organization. For this you may seek feedback from professionals or even your mentors.

What is a Statement of Purpose?

It is basically an essay, or say application essay. Before proceeding further, let us discuss what does a good SOP consists of. While writing the SOP, the following things shall be included-

1. 1st Paragraph

  •   Describe yourself briefly as a person by giving your background.
  •   Tell about your current academic qualifications, academic achievements, goals andaspirations.

2. 2nd Paragraph

 Discuss the facilities and opportunities provided by the recruiter/organization you are applying for- After stating that you have goals and aspirations related to the program, appreciate the opportunity provided by the organization and explain your interest in it. State why you want to do this specific program by giving convincing reasons.

3. 3rd Paragraph

 In this paragraph, focus on explaining why are you the right candidate for the program and how will you fit in their program. For this, describe your strengths, skills and abilities which would be helpful in the program. Describe any previous experiences and how they shaped you. You may include internships, moots, projects, research excellence, etc. Be sure to mention how your previous experience relates to the program. It will show that you have a clear understanding of the requirements of the program and you are confident that you will fit into it.

4. 4th Paragraph (Closing Paragraph)
 In this last paragraph, describe your future plans and long-term goals briefly. It will display your long-term vision and sincerity in the respective field.

All these pointers must be included in the SOP which would be written in an essay format. While mentioning these things, make sure that whatever you write is related to the program description. Anything else would be irrelevant and therefore do a research about the position you are applying for.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that the SOP, apart from reflecting who you are as a candidate, also reflects your writing abilities. The recruiter at a glance can whether accept or reject your application depending upon the writing style of your SOP. Therefore, it is very important to check for the following things-

  • There should be no spelling mistakes or grammatical mistakes.
  • The piece of the writing should be strong and clear. Try to keep it concise.
  • Avoid the use of repetitive language.
  • As it is a kind of essay, the language should be between formal and informal. Do notuse overly informal language.
  • The tone of the SOP should be confident and informative.

This is going to be a long essay so take your time and put your best writing skills at work covering all the important aspects of a SOP.

The SOP shall not be more than one and half page. Recruiters read 15-20 applications per day so be economical with your writing and keep it concise. Also, more than one page or one and half page will leave an impression that you do not have the clarity in your purpose and you lack focus.

Last words

Do not forget to give a final proofreading to your documents. You may want to edit the final writing by cutting out the clutter and keep it concise. You should be able to deliver your message with just the right blend of clarity and confidence. Try to avoid irrelevant information or even your achievements that do not suit the job description of the organization. You can seek constructive feedback from your mentors, friends, family or even professionals. Lastly, do not send the same cover letter and SOP everywhere. Invest some time upon researching about the organization and modify your cover letter and SOP accordingly. It would definitely be worth it.All the best!

Singhania & Partners LLP, New Delhi
Internship Experiences

Internship Experience at Singhania & Partners LLP, New Delhi

Name, College & Year: Ayushi Mishra; Symbiosis Law School, Noida; 4th Year Student (5-year course of B.B.A. LL.B.) 

Name & Address of the organisation: Singhania & Partners LLP

P-24 Green Park Extension, New Delhi 110016, India

Duration: 2nd January 2020 – 30th January 2020

Application of procedure: 

I applied for the internship by sending an application to hr@singhania.in . I applied well before 1.5 months. Their office is generally filled with interns and there is hardly any vacancy. They usually have internships lined up for 2 months. 

A properly drafted application and CV with brief facts about your personal details, past experiences, accomplishments, duration required and describing your suitability need to be sent to the HR.  Regular follow-ups need to be conducted to ensure that the HR has taken your application into consideration. 

First Day Formalities:    

On my first day, around 20 interns joined the office. We were asked to sit in the conference room at the top floor. After a few minutes, the HR came and briefed us about the office timings, reporting time and the legal teams in the firm. You are free to choose the team you wish to work with. I worked with the Litigation and Arbitration team. Other departments like Mergers and Acquisitions, IPR, General Corporate, Tax, etc can also be found.

After the briefings, we were given a diary and pen from the office. Our laptops were connected to the office internet system and we were given our outlook accounts which were to be used for official works. We were then introduced to the associates and partners. 

Major Roles and Responsibilities:

My work majorly comprised of legal research, briefing the associates about the case files, making documents, and visiting courts. The legal research included various acts like CPC, IPC, Consumer Protection, Arbitration and Conciliation, Contract Act, Transfer of Property Act, etc. This helped me in studying about different provisions of the Acts in the span of one month and in gaining a lot of practical knowledge.

On our court visits we observed court proceedings and then go back to chamber of Singhania and Partners LLP in the court premises where we used to have discussions and interactions on our cases, recent news, etc. Later, we would go to canteen where the associates would treat us. 

The timings of the office were from 9:30 AM to 6:30 PM. Except the first Saturday of the month, rest all Saturdays were off.

Work Environment:

The firm maintains a balance by having warm and helpful seniors. The partners and associates were very patient with the interns and immensely supportive. They were genuinely interested in interacting with the interns and always made sure that the interns are given adequate work. 

The office is fairly organised and well kept. We would get coffee/tea and cookies in the morning and evening. The helping staff was too sweet and fun to interact with. 

Highlights of the Internship:

The friendly and amicable attitude of the associates was definitely a highlight for me. The associates would treat us at times and always ensured that the interns felt comfortable. They were also extremely communicative in terms of the work they gave us.

Any Drawbacks:

There were no drawbacks in the entire experience per say. However, my personal travel time was a lot because I would have to travel from Noida to Green park.

Stipend: 

There is no stipend for a one-month internship in this firm. But they do give ₹10,000 in long-term and assessment internships

Overall Experience

I learned a lot in this internship and got the opportunity to work in diverse laws. I was always busy with some work in the office which kept me productive throughout the internship.

epidemic diseases act 1897
Legislations

The Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897

With an ill-drafted, four-section Act on Epidemics, is the Indian Legal framework ready to deal with a Pandemic?

The Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 (hereinafter referred as the ‘Act’) of India is a law of colonial vintage. In the year 1896, Bombay was struck by a devastating Bubonic plague. It was transmitted through bacteria and very little was known about the disease or where it came from. To tackle such an untraceable disease and to restrict the movement and mass gathering of people so that its spread can be regulated, the British Government enacted this Act on 4th February 1897. 

By exercising the powers provisioned under the Act, the colonial authorities searched the suspected plague cases in homes of the public and among passengers by segregations, evacuations and also by demolitions of the places which were infected.

The preamble of the Act states that it is enacted “for the better prevention of the spread of dangerous epidemic diseases”.

The Act consists of total four sections. 

Section 2– It empowers the State Governments and Union Territories to take special measures and formulate regulations to prevent the outbreak of the dangerous epidemic disease if it satisfied that the State or any part thereof is threatened with the outbreak of such disease.

  • If the State Government is satisfied that the ordinary provisions of the law are insufficient for the time being to contain the outbreak of the disease, it may take or empower any person to take such measure or temporary regulations, by public notice, which shall be observed by the public to prevent the outbreak.
  • The State Government may also determine that in what manner and by whom the expenses incurred would be defrayed, if any.
  • It may also prescribe regulations, without prejudice, for inspection of persons travelling by railway or otherwise and the segregation of suspected persons, of being infected with such disease, by the inspecting officer in hospitals or temporary accommodations.

Section 2A- It empowers the Central Government to prescribe regulations for the inspection of any ship or vessel which leaves or arrives at any port in India and the detention of such person as necessary to prevent the outbreak.

Section 3- This provision provides for penalties to such persons who disobeys any regulation or order as made under this Act. Such person shall be deemed to commit an offence under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 i.e. Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant.

Section 4- It provides legal protection to the implementing officers acting under this act from any suit or legal proceeding.

This Act was designed to merely put government machineries into action upon a considerable threat of an epidemic disease and not a code for establishing the roles and responsibilities of general public health systems.

The act was described as “one of the most draconian pieces of sanitary legislation ever adopted in colonial India” by David Arnold because it provides for physical examination and detention of the suspects, destruction of infected properties and banning of public gatherings for any purpose including even religious purposes.

Historian Pandurang Balkawade said- “To control the spread of the disease, special powers were needed and the British rulers enacted the law giving extraordinary powers to officials…..the way British officers and soldiers implemented the Act was brutal and inhuman at times”.

A strong backing of legislation is required to deal effectively with the epidemic currently being faced by the nation. The executive orders lack adequate powers which the legislation is imbibed with. Where other countries have detailed legislations to deal with the outbreak of such dangerous diseases, India only has a four-section ambiguous legislation.

For instance, England has the “Public Health (Control of Disease) Act, 1984”. It has specific delineated roles for authorities to prevent the diseases. This Act provides for notification of an infectious disease, responsibilities of healthcare workers in identifying the contagious individuals and a clear hierarchical chain in which the identification has to be reported. It provides for measures to be taken, responsibilities of local authorities and national authorities, the pre-planned format of operation of the responding authorities, etc. These provisions reduce the scope of confusion and jurisdictional issues at the time of crisis.

Another example is “The Public Health Services Act, 1944” of the United States. It provides for an administrative structure through which the public health emergency shall be dealt with. It mentions clear separation of the roles and responsibilities of the Centre and States. Further, the Act very-well anticipates the need for additional manpower during a nationwide epidemic by creating a reserve corps to supplement the commissioned corps on a short notice.

To start with the defects in The Epidemic Diseases Act of India, it even fails to define when and how a disease shall be declared as an epidemic. As far as an epidemic is considered, India’s one-page, four-section act is incapable of providing any adequate legislative backing to even a minor public health emergency. Instead of anticipating and pre-planning the administrative framework, the Act leaves all the power and responsibilities with the State Governments to make regulations and take measures. There should be a strong and systematic procedure in the Act, so that the immediate measures could be taken rather than delaying the process by the States struggling to come up with administrative and health protocols on the fly whilst in the midst of a crisis. This would result in every State differing in its strategy and may even result in abuse of power. There is no provision that the local or state level health or other authorities may follow in case of an emergency. The Epidemic Diseases Act of India is a pre-independence act and therefore fails to provide for any clarity upon the responsibility of different states and the union upon controlling of the nationwide epidemic.

However, many Constitution experts say that if the government is satisfied that these laws are good enough to fit in the existing circumstances, then there is nothing wrong. There are many colonial-era laws that are retained by the government like Indian Penal Code, Famine Act, etc. If it believes that a colonial-era would help in containing the outbreak of the epidemic then it is for the government to decide on the relevance of this law.

At present, the rising cases of COVID-19 in India have led to nationwide lockdown creating a panic among people of the nation. The government can learn from the past and current scenarios, and make an effective legislation in the interest of public health security to fight against the outbreak of any dangerous disease. It shall lay down the administrative structure clearly by setting out the powers and responsibilities of the authorities at the local level right up to the national level. The law shall be comprehensive, strong and humane, also keeping in mind the liberty, privacy and dignity of the patients.

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