As per the World Health Organization (WHO) report the transmission of corona virus from animals to humans is rare. But afterwards taking in to consideration the nature of virus, W.H.O named this virus as “COVID-19” and on 11th February, 2019 W.H.O declared COVID-19 “A Pandemic”.  On  23rd  March, 2020 India declared Lock down for 21 days due to which all the industries, offices, schools, colleges, malls, shops etc. had to be closed except the shops of essential commodities. To tackle the situation, the government declared many populated districts of our country to undergo complete shut down for 2 to 3 days. The main intention was to minimize human contacts and maximize social distancing.

           Presently as per the latest reports, in India there are total 6,412 COVID-19 cases out of which death cases are 199 and recovered cases are 504 (including 1 migrated case). But in few days the new cases of corona virus have doubled due to Religious congregation in Delhi (Tablighi Jamaat), which brought new challenges to control Corona virus in India. As per W.H.O, lockdown is the only solution to control the rapid spreading of Corona virus by social distancing and isolation. According to latest status, India is in Stage 2 of Corona virus infection. But after the reported number of positive cases in the Jamaati’s from Delhi, who have travelled throughout the nation with the infection, India now stands on the verge of community transmission (Stage 3) of Corona infection.

            Now the question comes whether the decision of Lockdown is constitutionally valid or not? The answer in this context is ‘Yes’. The constitution of India says that lock down is constitutionally valid and the states have the power to order such a lockdown if it benefits the public at large. Our Constitution provides us the right to life under Article 21, which is the most fundamental and essential right in all circumstances. The Supreme Court of India also enlarged Art-21 and said that “right to health is integral to right to life. The Govt. has a constitutional obligation to provide health facilities.”  So it reveals that it is the obligation of the State to take necessary action in this present pandemic to protect the lives of the citizens provided under Art-21 of the constitution of India.

              COVID-19 is spreading day by day in India due to Community contact and the absence of required Vaccine has worsened the situation. Even the giant health infrastructures of countries like US, Italy, China have failed to forcefully control this pandemic and resorted to lock down. So the order of lockdown in a heavily populated country like India is the only step to prevent the mass transmission of Corona virus. A lockdown restricts two of our fundamental rights: – Art- 19 (1) (d) – the right to move freely throughout the territory of India and Art- 19 (1) (g) – the right to practice any profession, or to carry on any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business. But taking into consideration the present pandemic, the Art- 19 (5) and (6) make it clear that ‘reasonable restrictions’ can be imposed on these rights in the interest of the general public provided it is done by a duly enacted law. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs (M.H.A) guidelines, if a person is found contradicting its provisions then he/she can be charged with fine or an imprisonment term of 1 month for the violation of an order of a public servant under Section 188 of Indian Penal Code. Thus, the guide lines formulated under Disaster management Act, 2005 and the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 provides necessary powers to the states to take all necessary measures to tackle an epidemic.

                 The Prime Minister of India and also the Chief Ministers of various States have appealed to the citizens to stay indoors and to restrict public gathering. So it is our moral as well as legal responsibility to stay at home. In recent days, we have seen in social media and electronic media that police have lathi charged people who have come out of their homes to buy essential commodities. But in this situation some devious police officers are misutilising their powers by using physical force to humiliate public and the circulation of such videos in News and Social media platform have become a source of public embarrassment and mental agony for the victims. I can here say that we are living in a country where illiteracy and poverty are very common. Most of the people are absolutely unaware about the laws during sudden lockdown period. In this context the best way to tackle the situation is through public awareness of laws. The police should apply the above stated provisions of law very carefully and tactfully.

                 Lastly in my view point the best approach for the police to cease public gathering and unnecessary movement of people on roads is by the imposition of fine that are found guilty of violating the Section 144 Crpc. order or the M.H.A guidelines during lock down. The police also needs to spread public awareness in social media by which people will understand the urgency of social distancing and isolation. As responsible citizens of this great mother land, it is our duty to abide by the government guidelines and the slogan ‘STAY HOME , STAY SAFE’  by keeping ourselves restricted inside our homes thereby saving millions of precious lives including our family and nation at large. Let’s stand integrated together as true warriors to defeat Corona Virus by weaving the power of love and humanity.

                                                                   WRITTEN BY :-

                                                                                 SMRUTI RANJAN DAS

                                                                                ADVOCATE, ORISSA HIGH COURT,

                                                                                SOCIAL ACTIVIST, 9439666078.  

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