Tough action against lockdown violators

In a telecasted question-and-answer program regarding the violations and offences that a defaulter would face, Lungten Dubgyur, Attorney General of the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) said that the major violators will face imprisonment of up to 3 to 5 years with no option for bail as the Offences are categorized as 4th degree felony.

As per the Penal Code of Bhutan, the offenders will be sanctioned for non-compliance to Section 448 under Chapter 29, which are offences related to public order and tranquility.

The Justice said, “Although the intention and concerns are not of punishment but a violator should not put so much at stake for the nation.”

He added, “Firstly, the offender would put other families at stake and then the additional burden on the government to bear the cost for the minimum mandatory period of 21 days for the quarantine facility services.”

In addition to that he stated that the defendant shall have to bear the quarantine charges and the people who have assisted in the breach would also be accountable.

 He said, “In some cases the government has to incur expenditures beyond the primary health care facility in the country, if a probable infection may require referrals.”

As per the AG, the offenders will also be in violation to Section 410 (criminal nuisance) under Chapter 27 Offences against the Public Welfare.

The Section states, “A defendant shall be guilty of the offence of criminal nuisance, if the defendant knowingly or recklessly creates or maintains a condition including spreading dangerous disease that injures or endangers the safety of health of the public.”

He added that among the 45 offenders until Wednesday, there were a handful of cases which were not just lockdown related offence. Reportedly, most of the violators are residents of Thimphu.

He stated that they would be penalized as per the Penal Code of Bhutan.

A press release issued by the zoning team stated that based on public interest, the penalties would be for minor violation and major violation.

Entering zone(s) other than one’s own zone, going out during a non-assigned time block, multiple person going out with one card, going to other people’s house and not wearing face mask when coming out of the house are considered as minor offences.

For the first violation, the De-suups will counsel the violators on the use of movement pass and confiscate the card for a day, for the second violation De-suups will confiscate the card for 3 days and people beyond 3rd violations will be considered as major violation.

Major violence comprises of repeated violation after the 2nd violation along with confiscation of their household movement card for a week.

The use of non authorized or fake movement pass or the use of unauthorized vehicles during lockdown will result in the violator being reported to the Royal Bhutan Police and their household movement card will be confiscated for the entire duration of the lockdown.

Finally, if a person violates in any other way, a penalty that is deemed fit will be applied.

The AG said that in terms of the Health and safety concerns, a person will have to serve a minimum of 3 days to a maximum of 2 weeks in quarantine to get tested.

Following the recent incident of a violator having reached different places within the capital, the AG said that the test results need some time before they could analyze the situation further.

He said that the violator has not only put the other person who meets him at risk but even more so if the families have vulnerable members in the house.

The AG said that in case of demise related to the probable virus inflictor the person cannot be fully accountable since the other person has also violated the law by meeting the person during the on-going lockdown protocols. He said that this could be looked separately from a health perspective as well.

He said that there has been much cooperation from the people during lockdown but they have to abide by what the law requires them to do.

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