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Is there a difference between Centre and State's Lockdown?

Understand the difference between centre and state’s lockdown and whether the state can defy centre announced lockdown.

Apr 14, 2020 11:08 IST
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In the wake of rising Coronavirus cases in India, six states- Punjab, Odisha, Telangana, Maharashtra, West Bengal, and Karnataka have extended the ongoing lockdown till April 30. While, the centre has also made an announcement regarding the lockdown extension till May 3, 2020. Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned this in his address to the nation on April 14.

Amid this, it is important to understand the difference between centre and state’s lockdown. If the states can announce it on their own, then why is the National Lockdown actually needed.

Can State allow its own lockdown?

As per the constitution, the power to act on the subjects of law and order and public health lie with the state government. In this ongoing pandemic, many states have accessed their rights and have invoked the Epidemics Diseases Act of 1897 to order the lockdown. This particular act empowers the state to prescribe temporary regulations that will prevent the outbreak.

Why Centre’s Lockdown is needed?

The possible lack of uniformity in the measures adopted by the states as well as in their implementation of the lockdowns was the reason given by Centre for ordering Nationwide lockdown on March 24.

The centre’s lockdown was ordered through the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). It is headed by Prime Minister under section 6(2)(i) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005. The order of the 21-day lockdown under Section 10(2)(I) of the Disaster Management Authority (DMA) was issued by Union Home Ministry which was in compliance with NDMA’s order.

Will there be a lockdown extension?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced the lockdown extension till May 3, 2020, in his address to the nation on April 14. The further order by the centre will also come under the same Disaster Management Act, 2005.

Can State defy Centre orders for the lockdown?

While there will be a consultation between centre and state for the lockdown, centre holds an upper hand to assure that the orders are being followed.

As per article 254 of the Constitution, if there is any form of inconsistency between a law made by the parliament and by the states, the law made by the centre will prevail.

The President also holds power to enforce the law in the states, in the case of conflicts. States can enforce the lockdowns but cannot defy the centre’s orders for the lockdown.

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