Business to Business (B2B) Exhibitions permitted to open.SOP to be issued by the Department of Commerce.
While the said MHA order has created a huge positive waves for the B2B Fairs in the country, some unsolved issues are still seen as hurdles in kickstarting the Exhibition Industry.
The Ministry of Home Affairs under Section 6 (2)(i) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, has issued the said order on 30th September 2020, in the backdrop of Unlock 5, directing the ministries or departments of Government of India, State and union Territory Governments and Authorities to implement the Order Number 40-3/2020-DM-I(A), text attached with this Story.
The order issued says “Any person violating these measures will be liable to be proceeded against as per the provisions of Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, besides legal action under Section188 of the IPC, and other legal provisions as applicable. Extracts of these penal provisions are at Annexure II”.
There are, however, debates in the legal circles about the powers of the central government to pass an order of such a nature under the DMA, 2005, since law and order and public health are state subjects under the Indian Constitution e.g Maharahstra Government has extended the lockdown in the state till 31st of October. The state hosts second maximum numbers of the B2B Exhibitions in the country followed by NCR.
The MHA Order says
> Business to Business (B2B) Exhibitions will be permitted to open, the order further says The SOP for the same will be issued by the Department of Commerce.
> The order further sets Strict enforcement of the guidelines i.e.
(i) State/ UT Governments shall not dilute these guidelines issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, in any manner.
The very next para says…
(ii) For the enforcement of social distancing, State/ UT Governments may, as far as possible, use the provisions of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) of 1973.
This contradicts the (i) as State may implement section 144 as the moment Section 144 is enforced, a public gathering becomes a crime under this section.
Division of Power Under the Constitution Of India
Article 245 of the Constitution of India states that the Parliament or central government may make laws for whole or any part of India, and the state government may make laws for whole or any part of the state. Article 245 lays the basis for the division of powers between the centre and the state, whereas, Article 246 provides for the ‘Distribution of Legislative Subjects’ between the central and state governments. It does so by creating three lists, enumerated in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, namely the Union List Concurrent List, and State List. The Union List lays down the subject-matter on which Parliament has an exclusive power to legislate, similarly, the State List provides for matters on which the state government has an exclusive power to legislate, and lastly the Concurrent List, provides for subject matter on which both, central and state governments, can legislate.
Constitutionally, the state government is empowered to deal with matters related to public order and public health, listed in the state list Entry 1 and 6, respectively.
The other issues of major concern is also because Maharahstra Government has extended the lockdown till 31st of October. The state hosts second maximum numbers of the B2B Exhibitions in the country after NCR.
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