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India needs new law to combat swine flu like situation

PTI  New Delhi, August 07, 2009
First Published: 02:07 IST(7/8/2009) | Last Updated: 02:14 IST(7/8/2009)

Maharashtra and Delhi governments may have invoked the archaic Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897 to help combat deadly swine flu but the Chairman of the Law Commission Justice A R Lakshmanan says the country needs a new law to handle such a situation.


"It requires a different law," he said wondering if the 112-year-old law has enough teeth to counter the disease of such magnitude which has already claimed one life and spreading across the country.

He said like many of the laws, this one enacted by the Britishers, has to go as they were enacted by them to suit their requirements and interests.

"Such laws are a British legacy," he said.

The Epidemic Act empowers the government to take special measures, including forcing a person to undergo medical test and treatment, and prescribe regulations to tackle outbreak of epidemic diseases.

With rising cases of swine flu, the Delhi government had on June 12 invoked the Act making it mandatory for a person having symptom of the disease to get admitted into a notified hospital.

The first swine flu death in India was reported on August four from Pune after which Maharashtra government also invoked the Epidemic Act.

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