Legal Issues During Lockdown/Covid-19 : Answers
A Person who is entitled to legal aid is provided under the Legal Services Authority Act, 1987
Section 12 of Legal Services Authority Act, 1987: Criteria for giving legal services:
Every person who has to file or defend a case shall be entitled to legal services under this Act if that person is :-
(a) A member of a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe.
(b) A victim of trafficking in human beings or beggar as referred to in Article 23 of the Constitution.
(c) A woman or a child.
(d) A mentally ill or otherwise disabled person.
(e) A person under circumstances of undeserved want such as being a victim of a mass disaster, ethnic violence, caste atrocity, flood, drought, earthquake or industrial disaster or
(f) An industrial workman or
(g) In custody, including custody in a protective home within the of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956(104 of 1956); or in a juvenile home within the of the Juvenile Justice Act, 1986 (53 of 1986); or in a psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home within the of the Mental Health Act, 1987(14 of 1987) or
(h) On the basis of annual income of the person.
Question 1: Can Person be penalized if he/she break the lockdown?
Ans: All lockdown advisories should be followed with utmost seriousness. The police can take punitive action against you if they feel your actions are endangering the lives or disrupting the law. Relevant sections of Epidemic Act, 1897, Disaster Management Act, 2005 and Indian Penal Code can be invoked by police in case of breach of any instructions.
Question 2: What are the rights of the person, if he is arrested by the police during the lockdown?
Ans: Yes, you have a right to legal assistance if you are arrested during the lockdown or even during normal times. Section 41 D of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides you with that right.
Section 41 D States that: “Right of arrested person to meet an advocate of his choice during interrogation”. In case you want free legal aid and assistance, you can ask the police to connect you to the District Legal Services Authority or its deputed panel lawyer.
Question 3: If a person is arrested on breaking the lockdown and charged under Section 188 IPC, What he/she should do?
Ans: Section 188 says: “Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant”. Section 188 IPC is not serious offence. Section 188 attracts Simple imprisonment for 1 month or fine Rs. 200 or both, if disobedience causes or tends to cause obstruction, annoyance or injury, or risk of obstruction, annoyance or injury, to any person lawfully employed.
Section 188 attracts Simple imprisonment for 6 month or fine Rs. 1000 or both, if disobedience causes or tends to cause danger to human life, health or safety, or causes or tends to cause a riot (दंगा) or affray (Two or more persons fights in public to disturb public peace).
Also, Section 188 of IPC is bailable offence. If a person is arrested for a bailable offence, the police can immediately release you on furnishing of surety and person is not required to be produced in court. Non-bailable offences are of a more serious type, which invoke higher punishment.
Quesion 4: If person is arrested and produced before a Magistrate by police for seeking remand, and he/she cannot afford a lawyer then what shall he/she do?
Ans. In such a case, a Remand lawyer deputed by the District Legal Services can represent such person before the magistrate free of cost. He may also file bail application on his/her behalf.