The state government of Kerala has imposed Section 144 of the CrPC for the period of one month, starting October 3 amidst rising coronavirus cases. The section bans the assembly of more than five people, effectively putting a pause on social and political gatherings.
The order was issued by Chief Secretary Vishwas Mehta late on Thursday. Mehta said that the order will come into force at 9 AM on October 3 and will be effective till October 31. “Strict restrictions shall be imposed in containment zones and in specific areas where the spread of the disease is apprehended. Existing relaxations for categories like weddings, funerals etc shall be continued and the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) concerned shall issue proceedings, considering the ground situation in their districts,” the order read.
The state’s district magistrates have been told to make the necessary arrangements to implement the order thoroughly while continuing to seal off areas where the coronavirus is spreading rapidly. Kerala government has clarified that the order will not apply to businesses, markets and office-goers. The state issued the order to avoid a total lockdown and curb the spread of the virus after an all-party meeting earlier this week.
It limits the relaxations provided by the latest phase of ‘Unlock’ measures, which allowed gatherings of up to 100 people outside hotspots and gave conditional permission to open movie theatres from 1 October. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced the government’s aim to create at least 50,000 new jobs by the end of this year, which were lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic.