Aug 29, 2020

A virus named ‘corona’ originated from a food market in Wuhan which got out brought the whole world to a halt. Since doctors first identified the corona virus (COVID-19) in China last December, the virus has rapidly spread throughout the world leaving government officials, non-governmental organizations, health care workers and the general population disturbed. For the first time in the history of independent India, that the country has come to a complete stoppage of work and a complete halt. Pandemic means a wide spread Epidemic Disease which in critical situation affects a larger number of people or group and over a very large Geographical area transcending many countries. It occurs suddenly due to some viral or other outbreak conditions and influenced by various factors including climatic changes. Seasonal Epidemics occur across international borders which in turn affects a large number of people. It also should be noted that just because a disease spreads among people little widely and kills them, it cannot be recognized as a Pandemic. To classify as Pandemic, a disease must possess a strong infectious character and have wildfire spread and also pose serious threat over a large geographical area affecting more number of people than expected. Some of the Pandemics apart from Novel Corona Virus (2019) which affected the world in the past few Centuries are Spanish Flu, Plague, Influenza, Smallpox, Cholera, AIDS, Ebola Virus, H1N1 or Swine Flu etc. causing a huge spread and fatalities. The major pandemic that is presently the cause of concern world over is Corona Virus which is also known as COVID-19 which emanated from the City of Wuhan which reportedly started in September 2019 and has caused wildfire spread globally. In Pandemic situations the lives of greater majority of the people is at great risk. So Governments, Individuals, Corporates (which includes producers, employers etc.) own big responsibility and the rights and duties of each assumes great relevance to bring order and safer living for all. The World Health Organization under the United Nations is responsible for maintaining public health at international level advising and implementing measures globally on health care and global well-being. WHO has been mandated by a series of world health assembly that provides various resolutions to member states with guidance and technical support in Pandemic situation? The lockdown is a 'lifeline for mankind'. On contrary, the mother earth is healing from abominable human works like climate degradation. Lockdown is also helping in sharing the burden of doctors who are on double duty with incomplete feed. Citizens are utilizing the time to patch up with family and connect with children to build up emotional strength. Though lock down is saving the survivors effectively, but on the other hand shaking the country in various aspects. All the institution, schools and colleges providing education are temporarily closed down. It will be a huge gap in education for all children. Lockdown is likely to caution mental well-being by blocking social interaction. India has the world's largest democracy but this lockdown has put the freedom of citizens under a curtain of safety. And, lastly it is never guaranteed that corona after this will halt forever, it could return and blow the world again. This is one of the horrific impact for daily wage earners and migrant laborers. During this period of time, they are to be the most hard hit. Nearly 20% of Indians are daily wage earners and are under the threat of daily starvation. They even had to travel for miles to reach their homes back being unemployed. Secondly, next hit is for the population of middle class category. Not all of them have lots of savings. They might be able to endure for shorter period but not for long if extended even further. All the essential items to earn lives are provided free of cost to many and are mostly circulated at normal price through “Rashan shops” for others as per the orders of the PM Modi. This step of saving human lives is actually overriding the economic objective but however fulfilling the social one. All the shops of emergencies are continuing to operate as usual like petrol pumps, hospitals, medical shops etc. So they are less likely to affect the general well-being of dear natives. This lockdown for individual lives and individual nations will for sure prove successful at micro level but at macro level it will terribly degrade the world economy. Another aspect of legality can be Doctrine of Repugnancy under Article 254 of the Constitution where the Supreme Court in M.Karunanidhi vs. Union of India has clearly elucidated that “in case of any inconsistency the Central Act will prevail and the State Act will become void in view of repugnancy”. So the law permits the lock down and it is within the ambit of Constitutional context. The legal side of existing supply and production-related relationships are very much disrupted due to this epidemic which we term as “Acts of God” and “Force Majeure-clauses”. The lockdown imposed is undoubtedly the need of the hour though the constitutional validity of such an action has been questioned by many.  Article 21 of Indian Constitution has been interpreted in a broad manner stating that right to health is integral to the right to life. Article 19(1) (d) of the Indian Constitution is affected by the lock down under which right to move freely throughout the territory of India and also Article 19(1) (g) which provides right to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business. However, Article 19(5) and (6) of the Constitution clearly states to impose ‘reasonable restrictions’ in the interests of the general public provided it is done by a duly enacted law. If we refer other law the Section 2 of the Epidemic Act, 1897 as it permits state and central government to take special measures and give regulations for the general public that helps in containing the spread of disease. The need of the hour of public health crisis demands support rather than restrictions.