"Your 269, Sanitary. Government of Bombay consider the Bill should provide for the
prevention and suppression of any outbreak of dangerous disease and for prevention of its spread;
that dangerous disease should be defined as any disease by which the life of man is endangered;
that the Bill should provide for extension of its provisions to any area whatever, for example, the
precincts of a railway station, and for necessary delegation of powers to officers of Government;
that the Bill should legalize the removal to, and detention at, hospitals or other places provided,
of persons suffering or suspected to be suffering from dangerous disease, and that this should be
legal not only in affected area but anywhere, so as to cover case of travellers found on railways
or in dharamshalas, &c. It is also desirable to provide that damage caused to private property
shall not, unless caused recklessly, give grounds for action in Civil Courts."
5. Act III of 1897 received the assent of the Governor General in Council
on 4th February 1897 and was communicated to the Bombay Government by
telegram. It ran as follows:
"ACT No. III OF 1897.
An Act to provide for the better prevention of the spread of Dangerous Epidemic Disease.
Whereas it is expedient to provide for the better prevention of the spread of dangerous
epidemic disease; It is hereby enacted as follows:
Short title, extent and commencement.
1. (1) This Act may be called the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.
(2) It extends to the whole of British India (inclusive of Upper Burma, British Balu-
chistan, the Santal Parganas and the Pargana of Spiti); and
(3) It shall come into force at once.
Power to take special measures
and prescribe regulations as to
dangerous epidemic disease.
2. (1) When at any time the Governor General in Council is satisfied that India or any
part thereof is visited by, or threatened with, an outbreak of any
dangerous epidemic disease, the Governor General in Council,
if he thinks that the ordinary provisions of the law for the time
being in force are insufficient for the purpose, may take or require
or empower any person to take such measures and, by public notice, prescribe such temporary
regulations to be observed by the public or by any person or class of persons as he shall deem
necessary to prevent the outbreak of such disease or the spread thereof, and may determine in
what manner and by whom any expenses incurred (including compensation, if any) shall be
(2) In particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provisions, the
Governor General in Council may take measures and prescribe regulations for-
(a) the inspection of any ship or vessel leaving, or arriving at, any port in British
India and such detention thereof, or of any person intending to sail therein, or arriving there-
by, as may be necessary; and
(b) the inspection of persons travelling by railway or otherwise and the segregation, in
hospital, temporary accommodation or otherwise, of persons suspected by the inspecting
officer of being infected with any such disease.
(3) The Governor General in Council may, by general or special order, direct that all or
any of the powers conferred by this Act may also be exercised by any Local Government with
respect to the territories administered by it.
3. Any person disobeying any regulation or order made under this Act shall be deemed to
have committed an offence punishable under Section 188 of the
Indian Penal Code (XLV of 1860).
4. No suit or other legal proceeding shall lie against any person for anything done or in
Protection to persons acting good faith intended to be done under this Act."
under Act.
6. The following Notification was issued by the Government of India on
4th February 1897:-
Calcutta, the 4th February 1897.
No. 302.-Whereas certain parts of India are visited by, and others threatened with,
an outbreak of dangerous epidemic disease known as bubonic plague, the Governor General
in Council, in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 2, sub-section (3), of the
Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, is pleased to direct that the powers conferred by the said Act
may be exercised by Local Governments with regard to their respective territories as
(a) all the said powers by the Governors of Fort St. George and Bombay in Council,
the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal and Chief Commissioner of Burma;