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Why in news?

  • The Union Cabinet on 22nd April 2020, approved the promulgation of an ordinance to amend the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, making acts of violence against medical staff a cognizable and non-bailable offence and to provide compensation for injury to healthcare personnel or for damage or loss to property.
  • The ordinance proposes that in cases of attacks on healthcare workers, the investigation will be completed within 30 days and the final decision arrived at within one year.
  • A government release said the ordinance is intended to ensure that during any situation akin to the current pandemic, there is zero tolerance to any form of violence against healthcare service personnel and damage to property.

Read More Details About the Ordinance in the 2nd Article of our PIB Summary HERE ->

Read More about the Epidemic Diseases Act here:

Why was this ordinance needed?

  • Healthcare workers are the front-line warriors in this battle, and along with other corona fighters such as sanitation workers and police officials, they are the backbone of our crisis response in this hour.
  • Public venting of angst against healthcare service personnel leading to harassment assault and damage to property is being highlighted daily.
  • Portrayal as potential spreaders of COVID-19 pandemic played havoc with the confidence of the medical community which is demanding protection.
  • They are already facing a high risk of infection as they venture into the infected areas.
  • It is absolutely essential, therefore, to ensure their safety and security and allow them to do their job with a sense of confidence.

What is an Ordinance?

  • An ordinance is a law that is promulgated by the President of India only when the Indian parliament is not in session. President promulgates an ordinance on the recommendation of the union cabinet.
  • Similarly, Governor of Indian states can also initiate ordinances only when a legislative assembly is not in session when it is a unicameral legislature and when legislative assembly along with legislative council both are not in session when it is the bicameral legislature.

Ordinance making power of the President (Article 123)

  • If at any time, except when both Houses of Parliament are in session, the President is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take immediate action, he may promulgate such Ordinances as the circumstances appear to him to require.
  • An Ordinance promulgated under this article shall have the same force and effect as an Act of Parliament, but every such Ordinance –
    • shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament and shall cease to operate at the expiration of six weeks from the reassembly of Parliament, or, of before the expiration of that period resolutions disapproving it are passed by both Houses, upon the passing of the second of those resolutions; and
    • may be withdrawn at any time by the President. (Where the Houses of Parliament are summoned to reassemble on different dates, the period of six weeks shall be reckoned from the later of those dates for the purposes of this clause.)
  • If and so far as an Ordinance under this article makes any provision which Parliament would not under this Constitution be competent to enact, it shall be void.

Ordinance making power of the Governor (Article 213)

  • He can issue an Ordinance when one or both Houses of the State Legislature are not in session, having the force of a law.
  • The Governor is authorized to promulgate Ordinance when is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take action immediately.
  • However, the Governor is prohibited from promulgating Ordinances that contain provision, which under the Constitution require the previous sanction of the President for introduction in the State Legislature or which are to be reserved for the assent of the President.
  • In such cases, the Governor can promulgate an Ordinance after obtaining permission from the President.
  • An Ordinance issued by the Governor ceases to be in operation six months and six weeks, as is to the ordinance issued by the President. The Governor may withdraw an Ordinance any time before it expires.
June 2024