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Invoking the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 in Light of the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance.


The outbreak of the novel coronavirus demanded the involvement of the epidemic diseases act to combat the crises and provide a legal substance in enforcing rules and regulations. In times of such despair, the Epidemic diseases act, an act legislated in the pre-constitutional era came to the rescue. This paper analyses the provisions of the act and pitfalls faced in light of new challenges and the need to reform the act by inserting new provisions to better capture the modern-day challenges. This paper also deals with the Epidemic Diseases (amendment) ordinance, 2020 which received the assent of the president on April 23rd, 2020 which provided for stricter punishments for attacks against health workers, increased compensation, to make the offences cognizable and non-bailable among other things. This article seeks to establish whether the act and in addition to the new amendment is sufficient to combat current and future crises of similar nature to the novel coronavirus.

Keywords: Epidemic Disease, COVID-19, Coronavirus, Health Care Professionals

The article as published in Legal India can be accessed at:

The article was acclaimed with an SSRN citation subsequently and can be accessed:

Invoking the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897
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