SECTION 269 IPC - Indian Penal Code - Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life



Description of IPC Section 269

According to section 269 of Indian penal code, Whoever unlawfully or negligently does any act which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe to be, likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.

 

Offence : Negligently doing any act known to be likely to spread infection of any disease dangerous to life


Punishment : 6 Months or Fine or Both


Cognizance : Cognizable


Bail : Bailable


Triable : Any Magistrate





Section 269 of IPC- Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life

Several states have announced various strong measures at times to check the outbreak of life-threatening influenzas such as swine flu, bird flu, coronavirus, etc. With the central government asking them to strictly enforce the lockdown and take “legal action” against violators, authorities in several parts of the country have also invoked orders in such cases that prohibit the assembly of people. Section 269 of the Indian Penal Code is one such provision that requires obedience of these orders passed by a public servant and prescribes punishment for disobedience of the same during times when a deadly disease has taken its toll on the people.
 

What is Section 269 of the IPC?

Section 269 of the IPC states, “Whoever unlawfully or negligently does any act which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe to be, likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.”

It, therefore, seeks to punish an unlawful or negligent act that could spread a dangerous disease, with imprisonment up to six months or fine. The offence is cognizable, meaning that the police can arrest the accused without a warrant, but is bailable.
 

Under what circumstances Section 269 can be invoked?

These laws can also be applied by the police in the application of measures to make India Swachh Bharat. These can be enforced for various acts such as public spitting, dumping garbage on the road, urinating and defecating in the open, not wearing face masks in public when suffering from swine flu, medical establishments not making masks available at the registration counter and not implementing infection control precautions, the government not handling air pollution and allowing water to stagnate, leading to the spread of mosquito-borne diseases.

Such issues have been dealt with by various courts across India. On October 1, 2001, a case came up before the Delhi High Court relating to hospital infection leading to abortion. In this case, Dr. Meeru Bhatia Prasad vs State, High Court allowed the trial court to go ahead with trial formalities under Section 269 against the doctor on the plea that the needle used in an amniocentesis procedure caused infection and the subsequent abortion.

In a similar case, the Bombay High Court on February 1, 1974, said in Ramkrishna Baburao Maske vs Kishan Shivraj Shelke that if a commercial sex worker suffering from syphilis communicates the disease to another person during sexual intercourse, she is not liable to punishment under Section 269.

Looking at these judgments, it is obvious that Sections 269 and 270 can be the answer to many issues plaguing society. If we can demonstrate that there was a negligent act by an individual, establishment or government which is likely to spread infection dangerous to life and no precautions were taken, we should exercise our rights using the provisions of Section 269 of the Indian Penal Code.
 

Other sections that can be invoked against someone spreading infection dangerous to life

Another Section that can be invoked in cases like these is Section 270 of the Indian Penal Code. It reads, “Whoever malignantly does any act which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe to be, likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.”

It, therefore, deals with a “malignant act” spreading infection of disease dangerous to life and punishes it with two-year imprisonment or fine. This is also cognizable and bailable offence. The FIR lodged against Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor, who had attended parties after returning from London and tested positive for coronavirus, mentions these two provisions.

People can also be booked under Section 271, which criminalizes disobedience of quarantine rule. It says that whoever disobeys any rule by the government to regulate the conduct of places where an infectious disease prevails shall be punished with six-month imprisonment or fine.

FAQ's on IPC Section 269


What offence is defined under IPC 269?

IPC 269 Offence: Negligently doing any act known to be likely to spread infection of any disease dangerous to life.


What is the punishment for IPC 269 Case?

The punishment for IPC 269 is 6 Months or Fine or Both.


Is IPC 269 cognizable offence or non-cognizable offence?

IPC 269 is a Cognizable.


How to file/defend your case for IPC 269 offence?

Use LawRato for filing/defending your case under IPC 269 with the help of best criminal lawyers near you.


Is IPC 269 bailable or non-bailable offence?

IPC 269 is a Bailable offence.


In what court can IPC 269 be tried?

IPC 269 is tried in the court of Any Magistrate.


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