“Combating Covid-19: Section 269, 270 and 271”

COVID-19 is a historic and alarming pandemic that is spreading worldwide, devastating health systems and financial markets. Meanwhile, the virus affects our personal lives in various ways. Unemployment is apparently exploding overnight, students are forced to stay home, and hospitals are deeply concerned about their ability to cope with the influx of patients. However, the reaction of many political leaders all too often seems inconsistent, divided, and uncertain. It goes without saying that these are difficult times not only for this country but for the whole world. The government is taking various steps to fight against this situation. As it was founded that this infection through coronavirus is spread through contamination there are various steps taken by the governments all over the globe. People were told to stay where they are and make themselves lock inside their house. The Indian government also took action against this virus and started lockdown from 24th March[1]. People were instructed to go through the screening process and make themselves quarantine for fourteen days if they have travelled from any foreign country or any city of India which were marked under red and orange zone. There were many people who got panicked in this lockdown situation who were far away from their home and didn’t have any money to eat and shelter to live. Fundings were given for the situation but it was not possible to control the people not to travel from their place. Everyone wanted to stay with their family and make sure that everything is fine. Although curfews were there still knowingly, they travelled the place and because of this unknowingly they brought the dangerous disease COVID-19 and infected many other peoples and their families too.

Because of these reasons many legal actions were taken on these peoples who were negligent as they knew that they might be infected with the virus still travelled and spread the disease and breached the duty as it was instructed by the government not to move from their place unnecessarily. Many people were instructed to be quarantine in the isolation ward so that if they had the disease then it may be cured and it may be stopped from being spread[2]. Still, there were people who escaped from quarantine and who were corona positive spread the disease. Some of the cases which were reported are as follow:

  • A 63-year-old Kangra woman, who did not disclose her travel history after returning from Dubai and later tested positive for COVID-19, was registered under Section 270 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).[3]
  • Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor was booked by UP police under the same section and sections 269 and 188 IPC after attending at least three meetings in Lucknow, including a party with political leaders, and tested positive for the coronavirus.[4]

There have been other cases across the country where Sections 269 and 270 have been used to reserve people who oppose quarantine orders to slow the spread of the pandemic.

What is section 269 and 270 and 271 of Indian Penal Code,1860

Sections 269 (a negligent act that can spread an infection from a life-threatening disease), 270 (a malicious act that is likely to spread infection from a life-threatening disease) and Section 271(disobedience to quarantine rules) are included in Chapter XIV of the Indian Penal Code – “Public Health, security, convenience, decency, and morality.[5]

While Section 269 establishes a six-month prison sentence and/or a fine if someone is negligent and knows that he may have the disease still move out and spread the infectious disease, Section 270 establishes a two-year prison sentence and/or a fine. In section 270, the word “malicious” indicates intentional intent on the part of the accused, and Section 271 establishes a six-month prison sentence and/or a fine if any person does not obey the quarantine rule.[6]

When can the action be taken?

A person may be convicted under these sections if they do not follow-up the instruction which is given by the government which they had imposed. If they know that they may be having the infectious disease and do not isolate themselves and move freely spreading the contaminated disease and do not report to any Medical authorities about the symptoms or hide their symptoms from everyone if they do not give the true information about themselves and the place they have travelled, if they do not make themselves quarantine for the specified period of time given by the medical authority, or if they are marked positive for the disease and escape from the isolation ward as they were kept for their betterment and to save the other people live. Here knowledge of the disease is important as when there will be proper knowledge about the disease and their symptoms then only people will be aware of the fact that they carry such a dangerous disease and may unknowingly harm their family and other social groups too. These offences are cognizable and come under bailable sections. The effects of Sections 269 and 270 IPC are used in public health situations. For the use of these two sections, it must be demonstrated that the person was aware of the possibility of infection and yet did not take any measures or take precautionary measures. For the application of both, the development of the disease is not essential i.e., case of Kanika Kapoor.

Now, it is obvious that sections 269 and 270 may be the answer to many of the problems that affect society. If we can demonstrate that a person, company, or government was negligent and is likely to spread life-threatening infections and no precautions have been taken, we must exercise our rights in accordance with the provisions of Section 269 of the Indian Penal Code.

In India, the government has taken various steps for the awareness of the disease. They have made advertisements on the television and radio about the disease and their symptoms and to inform immediately when they find that they carry those symptoms or if they find any other person who has those symptoms. Through the medium of television and radio the government has also asked people to wear the mask and not to come in contact with the other person and maintain at-least one-meter distance from another person, and to wash the hands whenever come from outside and to use alcohol mixed sanitizers.


So I would conclude saying that throughout the globe is facing this pandemic situation and we have known that we are unable to find the proper vaccination or cure of the disease, at least we know how this disease is spread so we should follow the instruction given to us by our respected Government. If we have any of the symptoms, we must co-operate with the medical team who are corona warriors and keep oneself quarantined till the time period prescribed to us which is going to help to fight against the dangerous disease, COVID-19. Getting panic and moving from one place to another will result in the worst situation and we’ll be unable to fight against this pandemic.




[3]https://indianexpress.com/article/ /


[5]Indian penal code by Prof. S.N. Misra (21st amendment)

[6]Ratanlaldhirajlalipc 36th edition

This Article Written by Udita Prakash, BBA LLB (2nd year) Student of UPES, Dehradun.

Also Read – What Types of Cruelty Does Section 498A Deals With?

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