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FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND COVID-19

Author :- Varun Kumar

Introduction:

We all are witnesses of a pandemic which has created global health crisis at present time or we can say biggest of our generation. The outbreak of corona virus has created global health crisis and declared as a pandemic by World Health Organization (WHO). India is also suffering from this pandemic. India being a developing country and largest democratic country is facing many problems and the reasons behind these problems are population, literacy rate, politics, poor health measures, lack of awareness, work by mass media and many more. In fighting with this pandemic which is created by outbreak of corona virus, Indian government has failed to maintain rule of law and also failed to protect the fundamental rights of Indian citizens. Fundamental rights are those rights which are protected by state and are against the state. These are also called negative rights as these are against the state. As COVID-19 has created global health crisis at all sudden for which no country was prepared and as a result there are more than nine million confirmed cases and over forty seven hundred thousand death till now.1 To protect the people and to control the spread of this virus, different countries adopt different methods. As a result there is situation of state emergency and all countries which are in effect of corona virus sealed their international borders. India has also adopted various methods to protect their citizens and to control the spread of corona virus. Methods like lockdown, stop migration within the boundaries, closed international borders, cancel all flights and trains, quarantine centers for suspected persons. But in all these there are violations of fundamental rights of citizens because government and authorities failed to do arrangements for the citizens daily needs. They fail to fulfill the essentials for the survival and as a result there are many deaths from starvation and also due to illness.

What is Corona virus or COVID-19:

According to WHO (World Health Organization), corona virus disease, generally known as COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered corona virus. It is declared as a pandemic by WHO. At this time, there is no specific vaccine for the treatments of COVID-19. COVID-19 virus spread primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person cough or sneezes. The best way to prevent from this virus is to protect yourself and others from infection by washing hands or using an alcohol based rub frequently and not touching face. For the prevention you have to be well informed COVID- 19 the disease, its cause and how it spreads.

Most people infected with this COVID-19 virus experienced mild moderate respiratory illness and recovered without requiring special treatment. Older people and those who have serious

1. As updated by WHO (World Health Organization)     

medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, chronic respiratory disease are more likely to develop serious illness. They required special treatment for prevention as well as for treatment.

What are Fundamental Rights:

Fundamental rights are those rights which are protected and guaranteed against the state, by The Constitution Of India for its citizens. These are those rights which are essentials for the intellectual, social, moral, and spiritual development of the citizens of India. Fundamental rights are for all citizens irrespective of sex, caste, race, place of birth, and religion. There are also provisions for the violation of these rights under Indian Penal Code and also one can go supreme court directly for the violation of fundamental rights under article-32 of the constitution which is under fundamental rights.

There are six fundamental rights recognized by the Indian constitution:

  • Right to Equality
  • Right to Freedom
  • Right against Exploitation
  • Right to Freedom of Religion
  • Cultural and Educational Rights
  • Right to Constitutional Remedies

Supreme court of India keeps interpreting these rights from time to time as our society change and adopt new things. As right to education, right to remain silence, right to privacy and many more rights are recognized under the headings of these fundamental rights as supreme court interpreted by its own discretion.

Fundamental Rights and COVID-19:

COVID-19 a pandemic which has created global health crisis and the cure of this virus is far from us at present. Government all the countries are looking forward for the prevention of the virus and adopt various methods. India is also adopting various methods to prevent its citizens and also trying to control the spread of this virus. But in between these prevention and control there are violations of fundamental rights of its citizens. As Indian government adopt the system of lockdown in way to control the spread of corona virus and to protect its citizens from infection. For the success of lockdown government also announced a package for the relief and comfort of its citizens but they fail to exercise it and as a result there are violations of the rights of citizens. Without thinking about the labor class, students who are far from their home, daily wages workers, and all the citizens who are far from their home for their job, government without any plan, wanted to execute. Having knowledge about their country and their citizens and also having knowledge about how the citizens are going to react, because half of the population is from social and educationally backward and from economically backward, government announced lockdown. It is the duty of government to fulfill the basic concept of the constitution that is to equality on the basis of status, justice on the basis of social, economic and on political and not a single citizen of the country being untouched. Without any preparation government announced lockdown when the number of infected persons from the corona virus are in hundred and after four phase of lockdown the number go in hundred thousand. It verifies that lockdown was only on paper and end at the violation of the rights of the citizens especially from lower class.  

There are many rights which are violated during lockdown and COVID-19:

  • Right to equality1: One side government sends buses for the students but not for the labors who are already suffering from starvation. There are many such cases where government discriminate citizens on economic and social background.
  • Right to Freedom: there are restrictions on the social activity due to corona virus and also because of lockdown. Daily wages workers and people with low economy start paddling hundred kilometers and because of closing down of the transport system.

Thousands of people are living in quarantine center because there is no sufficient health care unit.   

  • Right to Life: due to this virus and lockdown the life of citizens are in danger. People died with the virus acceptable but who is responsible for the death during the migration from one state to another state. Due to living in quarantine centers live of many are in danger because there is no such facilities if there is one infected person then there is chance of infection to remaining all.

There are many others rights under the heading of the fundamentals rights as right to privacy, right to education, right to access information, right to religion, right against exploitation which is violated during this lockdown and COVID-19.

Various petitions are filed concerning COVID-19 in the Supreme Court. Supreme Court has let down both the constitution and people. By providing affordable health care, free rations, free travel, to migrants and some cash in hands of the poor, the Government is not performing the act of charity. It is merely complying with its obligations to the people who have a right to receive this, particularly during times of health crisis and other emergencies, the Indian Constitution says so, and it is the very foundational principle of a welfare state.

Conclusion:

In this pandemic, all Indians are united but if government start making discrimination among citizens then there is a change of revolution. And there is also chance of violation of constitution as government itself is not following the provisions then how can one think that citizens of the same will follow. Deaths which are due to corona virus is ok but who is responsible for the deaths due to starvation, migration, in the accidents due to the failure of administration or can say failure of administrative authorities. We all should follow the instructions given by the government because government have more instrument and eligible persons to deal with this pandemic but government also have to treat us equally and pay equal attention. Government

1. Under Article- 21 of the Indian constitution

should not discriminate by thinking that there is no contribution of poor in the development of the country or in the economic development of the country. This pandemic is not for the lifelong we all can beat this virus along with the government but it is also important that government is with us or with a specific class. During emergency there is curtailing in the fundamental rights but it should be equal far all if there is a class of people who suffers alone then there is violation of their rights. No other is responsible except the government itself. So, there should be equal treatment for all citizens by the side of government.

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