Congress leader and member of Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma on Friday questioned whether Parliament was exempted from the provisions of laws passed by it as the Epidemic Act which restricts people above the age of 65 to come out from their homes.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour in Rajya Sabha, Sharma said what example was Parliament setting about respect for laws of the land as both he and Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu were above 65 years of age and attending Parliament despite government’s notification.
The govt has evoked the Epidemic Act & asked citizens above 65 to stay indoors. Urge the PM to respect & not violate the law by insisting the farcical Parliament session to continue. He himself, his Ministers and other leaders above 65 years would be violators of the law.
— Anand Sharma (@AnandSharmaINC) March 19, 2020
“Yesterday the government has issued a notification. The Epidemic Act has been invoked in Delhi and in the rest of the country. So whether the Parliament is exempt from the laws which Parliament makes.
“All people above the age of 65 should not come out. I am above 65. Honourable Chairman is above 65. There are so many above 65. So, what example Parliament is setting about the respect for the laws of the land and government’s notification,” Sharma said.
At this, the Chairman said rule was not applicable to government personnel who are on duty. “God bless you, Nothing will happen to me and to you,” he said.
Sharma had earlier questioned the government over running of Parliament at a time when it has enforced the Epidemic Act, restricting the movement of people above 65 years. He had also accused the Prime Minister, his ministers and MPs of violating government rules.
India’s Epidemic Act which asks senior citizens who are more susceptible to this novel Coronavirus is similar to the decision taken by United Kingdom where people above the age of 70 are to self-isolate at home for up to four months to protect themselves from the disease. UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock told BBC, asking the over-70s to stay self-isolated would be “a very big ask”, but that it was part of the government’s action plan because it would be necessary to protect them.