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Law School Corner

Pandemic The Apocalypse(Laws To Rescue)

Anushree Dubey
25 Jun 2021 5:05 AM GMT
Pandemic The Apocalypse(Laws To Rescue)
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Wash your hands, stay inside the house, quarantine yourself and save yourselves and others life. People across the globe are facing this biological crisis, as we all are facing the destruction by the crowns of one single enemy i.e. COVID-19 which has been declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation. Day after day we are listening new words like lockdown, quarantine,...

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Wash your hands, stay inside the house, quarantine yourself and save yourselves and others life. People across the globe are facing this biological crisis, as we all are facing the destruction by the crowns of one single enemy i.e. COVID-19 which has been declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation. Day after day we are listening new words like lockdown, quarantine, hotspot and many more. Pandemic is one of the most common word which most of the people knows but still many of them get confused between the pandemic, epidemic and outbreak.

Pandemic basically is the rampant spillover of a disease over whole country or the world. The World Health Organisation(WHO) defines pandemic as a "Worldwide spread of a new diseas'..On the other hand epidemic disease is one which affects many person at the same time, and spreading from person to person In a locality where the disease is not permanently prevalant. WHO specifies epidemic as occuring at the level of a region or community. It is basically a "a temporary prevalance of a disease". Although both the words epidemic and pandemic can be easily confused as they both feature "demic". But here is an intractable rule for using the prefixes of these two words EPI and PAN. Epi is a greek word which means "on, upon, near, at". Wheareas Pan means "All". Outbreak is the outburst of something which is unwelcomed and can occur in just a blink of an eye.

ACTIONS AND PREPAREDNESS AT INTERNATIONAL LEVEL.

Disaster management is a core function of public health law. National laws and emergency plans should take account of international obligations for the management of the emergencies of the public health including the International Health Regulations(2005)(IHR). The purpose of IHR is to prevent and manage the public health risks arising from the international spread of disease, while avoiding unnecessary interference with the international traffic and trade. The revised IHR(2005) has been adopted by the World Health Assembly in 2005 which are binding on all WHO member states and provide a regulatory framework for international management of public health emergencies. Public Health Act is also one of the law which prevails at international level to look after the pandemic and according to the entailment of the country or world during the pandemic the WHO also from time to time issues certain guidelines as per the requirements, as it is issuing during the outbreak of COVID-19. But the lacuna is that it is sometimes not binding i.e. the country is not bound to follow it.

CAN INDIAN LEGAL FRAMEWORK DEAL WITH THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC?

Laws are framed for the betterment and welfare of the society as well as the country, but the law will only prevail when it is implemented strictly. It is rightly said that "if we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable".

Worldwide, many methods like tracing, social-isolation lockdown and quarantine are being used to attenuate the coronavirus COVID-19). The area of concern is what all laws are in India which are playing major role in plunging this pandemic. I will start with our grundnorm i.e. our Constitution.

Public Health and Sanitation are the responsibilities of the state and local government while the Union Government manages port quarantine, inter-state migration and quarantine. Only about eight states and Union territories in India have legislation for public health. As a specimen The Tamil Nadu Public Health Act, 1939 sets up public health boards and provides for supply of water drainage, sanitary conviniences etc. ART. 253 of the constitution allows the Union Government to enact a law to give effect to the International Health Regulations which which asks for setting up mechanisms to prevent, protect against control and provide a public health response to international spread of disease. TheThe union government invoked its powers under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 to enhace the preparedness and containment of COVID-19 at hospitals. Sec 52 of the ACT states that if anyone spread the false news then he will be imprisoned for 1 year.

TheThe Ministry of health and family welfare advised states to invoke the provisions of section 2 of the Epidemic Disease Act 1897. According to International Health Regulation, 2005 India needs to establish an appropriate public health response to international spread of diseases. This is done through the integrated disease surveillance programme. This ACT was designed to put government machinery into action, there is a considerabe threat of a dangerous epidemic disease and not as a code for establishing general public health systems. SectionSection 270 Of the INDIAN PENAL CODE states that whoever malignantly does any act which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe to be, likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 2 years or with fine or both

Many State Regulations has also been invoked such as BIHAR epidemic diseases COVID-19 Regulation 2020, UP epidemic diseases COVID-19 Regulation 2020, DELHI epidemic diseases COVID-19 Regulation 2020. authorise officers of the government to admit and isolate a person in certain situations. . Supreme Court and various High Courts have also issued various guidelines amid coronavirus outbreak and lockdown. The Apex Court issued guidelines for courts to switch to video conferencing during COVID-19 pandemic by exercising its plenary power under ART. 142 of the Constitution.

Allahabad High Court stated all the courts subordinate to High Court of Judicature at Allahabad and all commercial courts , Motor Accident Claims Tribunals and Land Acquisition , Rehabilitation and Resettlement Authorities across the state of UP be opened for working by adopting certain measures like sanitazation of courts and it also stated that the urgent matters will be done by video conferencing.

The steps taken by the Supreme Court and the High Courts is highly appreciable, it is rightly emphasized that the show must GO ON.

HOW COVID-19 IS QUESTIONING THE FABRIC OF INDIAN CONSTITUTION?

No doubt the lockdown is a necessary step taken to prevent the individual from the pandemic but there are few contentions that it is violating the fundamental rights like ART 21 which includes many rights. If one is saying that ART 21 is being violated then he shall know that it talks about the right to life and if these steps are being taken by the government they are only for the protection of our lives these are taking place just for a better tomorrow. The current situation poses a new test everyday for the executive and the judiciary. For the executive, it is a est to enforce the law of the land , and guarantee the Fundamental Rights provided by the Indian Constitution. For the judiciary, it is the test to uphold those rights which have been denied by the state. In an attempt to uphold and protect the constitutional fabric, the executive and the judiciary need to constantly re-evaluate the state of affairs. Right to Privacy and Right to education have also been undermined. Promoting the students of classes 1 to 8 will somewhere make their concepts weak and its effect can be seen in the competitive exams also. Although online classes are going on but there are also students who don't even have mobile or internet connection and some of them live in villages what about their studies. Government has launched the Arogya Setu App which is somewhere violating the Right To Privacy by tracing the movemnent of an individual and personal data breach is also taking place, but at the same time it must be noticed that it for our welfare we can contribute to save our country by following the norms and guidelines given by the government. Right to privacy was held as a fundamental right in Justice KS Puttaswamy v. Union Of India. ART 14 has also been violated as the migrant labourers are suffering a lot amid lockdown I have just one question why buses were not sent to these migrant labourers for their rescue because when students of Kota who were in their hostels demanded to go home they were provided with the buses then why not to the labourers?. The constitution is framed for the welfare of the country noone should be undermined.

The pandemic has led to various unwelcome circumstances which have to be cured soon, otherwise it can lead to Apocalypse. For the first time our borders are sealed, our airports are silent. But India's travel industry, Airlines are rescuing the stranded and bringing them home. This is the real face of Indian hospitality. This is the true heart of Incredible India. Hotels have opened doors to medical workers fighting at the front line. Restaurants are lighting fires in their kitchen to feed the hungry. Business may be closed but their hearts are wide open. I salute the frontliners and thank them to make us believe in a better tomorrow. Harsh actions must be taken against those who are misbehaving with the frontliners and the coronavirus warriors. The laws must be implemented in a better way so that it can work for the prevention and protection from this pandemic.

Views are personal

The Author is a 5th year student at Invertis University, Bareilly


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