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Posting messages relating to COVID-19 not punishable under Disaster Management Act

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New Delhi, Apr 03: A message that states the provisions of the Disaster Management Act would be invoked if people post messages relating to the coronavirus has been fast spreading on chat groups as well as the social media.

The message reads, "mandate to all residents. Tonight, 12am onwards Disaster Management Act has been implemented across the country. According to this update, apart from the Govt department no other citizen is allowed to post any update or share any forward related to Coronavirus and it being punishable offence."

Posting messages relating to COVID-19 not punishable under Disaster Management Act

There is no provision in the Disaster Management Act that prescribes a punishment for posting news relating to the pandemic. Section 52 of the Disaster Management states, "whoever knowingly makes a claim which he knows or has reason to believe to be false for obtaining any relief, assistance, repair, reconstruction or other benefits, he or she shall be punished with a jail term of two years and also a fine."

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A further reading into Section 54 of the act, however says that false news will be punishable under the provisions of the law. Section 54 says, "whoever makes or circulates a false alarm or warning as to disaster or its severity or magnitude, leading to panic, he or she upon conviction shall be imprisoned for one year or will have to pay a fine or both."

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