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That the clerics of the Tablighi Jamaat defied central orders and held a three day long meeting attended by nearly 2000 of them from India and abroad is well documented and frightening.

Now here is something that’s really scary. Reports have it that the clerics, many of whom are believed to have been infected by the deadly Coronavirus actually spat at policemen and on the roads when they were being transported in buses to hospitals for treatment and quarantine. The reports said that those sitting inside the buses spat out in what are presumed to be serious attempts to spread the virus as much as possible.

In order to avoid the spread of the virus, the official then ordered the Muslim clerics to shut the bus windows.

The Health Minister of Delhi Mr Satyendar Jain said that more than 1500 people had assembled at the Banglewali Masjid and around 1033 people have been evacuated and 334 have been sent to hospitals and 700 have been sent to quarantine centres. A nationwide man hunt has been launched by the government to track all the people who have participated in the Markaz Nizamuddin meeting and went back to their native places thereby spreading the contagious diseases amid lockdown.

In doing the obnoxious acts, the clerics and their followers can be prosecuted by the Delhi police which can register criminal cases against individual members of the Jamaat who put the life of the policemen on risk by trying them to infect with corona virus. The legal position on such acts is clear as crystal: Sections 269 of Indian Penal Code provide punishment to a person who unlawfully commits an act which spreads infection of disease dangerous to life with an imprisonment of six months. Similarly, Sections 270, 271 of IPC also provides for punishment for malignant act for spread of dangerous disease and disobedience to quarantine rule promulgated by government.

The act of members of the Tablighi members makes nonsense of the lockdown announced by the government to prevent the spread of corona virus by keeping people at home so that a situation of community spread of virus may not arise. The Central Government invoked the provision of 127 years old colonial era law known as Epidemic Diseases Act, 1893 to prevent the spread of disease and issued many notifications thereby. Their act of putting the life of policemen on risk by the members of the Jamaat is something that can and must be prosecuted and punished Under Section 307 of IPC in case any of the policeman dies of contacting corona virus.

Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code states that, whoever does any act with such intention or knowledge and under such circumstances that, if he by that act caused death, he would be guilty of murder, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

The Supreme Court in case of Vasant Vithu Jadhav vs. State of Maharastra, (2004) 9 SCC 31, observed that to justify a conviction under section 307 it is not essential that bodily injury capable of causing death should have been inflicted. Although the nature of injury actually caused may often give considerable assistance in coming to a finding as to the intention of the accused, such intention may also be deducted from other circumstances, and may even in some cases, be ascertained without any reference at all to actual wounds. What the court has to see is whether the act, irrespective of its result, was done with the intention or knowledge under circumstances mentioned in the section. If the intention is to commit murder and in pursuance of that intention a person does an act towards its commission irrespective of the fact that the act is penultimate or not, the offence under section 307, IPC would be made out. An attempt in order to be criminal need not be the penultimate act. It is sufficient in law if there is present an intent coupled with some act in execution thereof.

Many of the people inside the Markaz Nizammuddin came from foreign countries and infected the members of Jamaat wherein many of the members don’t even know that they are infected with COVID-19. Several cases have now surfaced of people who attended the meeting catching the virus. As of now, 10 people who attended the event have died of COVID-19, with 300 hospitalised for exhibiting symptoms of the deadly contagion.

-Vedant 

 

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