To mitigate the hardships faced by common people, the central government, along with states and union territories, has allowed some industrial and financial activities to resume from April 20. But these will be done under the strict guidelines set by the Home and health ministries.
In the meantime, a message circulating on WhatsApp and other social media claims that factory owners and the management will be penalised if any worker tests positive for coronavirus.
India Today Anti Fake News War Room (AFWA) has found that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) order has been misinterpreted in the viral message.
The viral message
The message in circulation is a purported advisory in the form of FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) from Kundli Industrial Association (KIA) in Haryana. The advisory says it is an “FAQ with respect to opening of factory on or after 20th April” after a meeting between KIA members and the district administration.
Point no. 7 of the advisory asks, ” if any person is infected during working who will responsible”. The answer given to the query says, “100% factory owner. FIR will be lodged. Factory will be sealed and all related people will be Quarantined for 14-28 days.”
AFWA has found that MHA has not ordered immediate penal actions against the company owner or management if an employee tests positive for coronavirus.
As per the MHA order issued on April 15, penalties under Disaster Management Act, 2005, are applicable if the offence occurs with “consent, cognisance or negligence of the employer”. The order further says strict guidelines and SOPs (standard operating procedures) are to be followed in workplaces, offices and factories regarding social distancing and sanitisation of employees.
But nowhere is it mentioned in the order that the employer or factory owner will be arrested or penalized, or an FIR lodged as soon as an employee tests positive for Covid-19.
The viral message was negated by the MHA spokesperson in a tweet.
Fact: MHA Guidelines misinterpreted. Penalties under DM Act’05 applicable if offence occurs with consent, cognisance or negligence of employer https://t.co/j9DTmIJr00
— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) April 22, 2020
The MHA order says that as per the Disaster Management Act, “when an offence under this Act has been committed by a company, and it is proved that the offence was committed with the consent or connivance of or is attributable to any neglect on any part of the director, manager, secretary or other official shall also, be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly”.
The Disaster Management Act was passed by both Houses of Parliament in 2005 and no new order has been issued by the MHA in the present perspective to arrest the factory owner and management if an employee tests Covid positive.
A similar misinformation has also been debunked by the Maharashtra government.
There are also rumours on social media that MHA guidelines for resumption of industries will lead to penal action against company directors and management. The Union government, through the Press Information Bureau, has denied it as “wrong and incorrect”.
Recently, the West Bengal government has also allowed the jute industry to operate in staggered shifts with restrictions on maintaining social distancing among employees.
Therefore, the claim that company owners and management will be immediately arrested and penalised if an employee tests positive for Covid-19, and such an order has come from the MHA, is misleading.
ClaimAs per MHA order, the factory owner and management will be arrested immediately if an employee tests positive for Covid-19.ConclusionConclusion – There is no such MHA order. Penal action will be taken if an offence is committed as per Disaster Management Act, 2005.
JHOOTH BOLE KAUVA KAATE
The number of crows determines the intensity of the lie.
- 1 Crow: Half True
- 2 Crows: Mostly lies
- 3 Crows: Absolutely false