Tag Archives: #FightAgainstCorona

Legality of the Lockdown

On 24 March, 2020, our hon’ble Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi declared 21 days lockdown which kept on extending further as the number of COVID 19 cases in India kept on increasing. Certain guidelines were laid down at both, centre and the state levels. As you would have observed that there were instances where some state governments issued guidelines in addition to what was issued by by the central government. Ever wondered whether imposing such a lockdown was legal or not? Well, by the time you get to the end of this article you will have a basic understanding of how it works. So keep reading.

The legality of such actions taken at different levels can be derived from the Disaster Management Act, 2005 (DMA) which aims “to provide for the effective management of disasters and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”

The Act provides for the establishment of Disaster Management Authorities at the Centre, State and District levels of which the Prime Minister, Chief Minister and the District Magistrate/Collector/Deputy
Commissioner respectively shall be the ex-officio Chairperson. Such authorities have the responsibility for laying down the policies, plans and guidelines for ensuring timely and effective response to disaster. But how does the law define the term “disaster”? Is the term “lockdown” defined in Indian Law? If yes, what does it mean and if no how and who gets to decide what it means? These are some of the obvious questions that might arise.

It is to be noted that, although, the term “Lockdown” has not been defined under Indian Law, it can be elucidated from the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1987 which “gives power to centre and state governments to take necessary actions to contain the outbreak of an epidemic even if such steps are not mentioned in the law practice or theory.” As we all know that scientists from around the world have still not found a credible vaccine for the same and considering India’s health care facilities, there would not have been enough resources to treat people if the number of people affected would have become large. Since the novel coronavirus is contagious, lockdown was a need of the hour to contain its outbreak.

But as mentioned earlier, the lockdown was inposed under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 , so it is essential to understand the meaning of the term “Disaster” which is defined as

a catastrophe, mishap, calamity or gave occurrence in any area arising from natural or man made causes, or by accident or negligence, which results in substantial loss of life or human suffering or damage to, and destruction of, property, or damage to, or degradation of, environment, and is of such a nature or mangnitude as to beyond the coping capacity of the community of the affected area.”

Section 2 (d), Disaster Management Act, 2005

Technically, if one goes by the definition, COVID-19 does not fall within the definition of “disaster” as per the Act, as it is a pandemic, not any calamity, mishap or catastrophe. So, as per the definition, lockdown which was imposed to contain its outbreak, cannot be imposed under the Act. But that happened; it was imposed under the Disaster Management Act. You might be by now contemplating as to how did that happen? How is that legal?

This was possible because the Ministry of Home Affairs declared COVID-19 as a “notified disaster” thus bringing it within the purview of section 2(d). This was done to increase the scope of its administrative powers so that quick actions could be taken.

You might also be aware that any action taken by the government must be in consonance with the Indian Constitution and some of you might have suffered from the restrictions on movement as a consequence of the lockdown. You might already have some idea about the fundamental rights that are guaranteed to every citizen by the Constitution of India. Yes, you are right! I am talking about Article 19 in Part III of the Indian Constitution. Many might have felt that the lockdown infringed their right to assemble peacefully wothout arms [Article 19 (1) (b) )] ; right to move freely throughout the territory of India [Article 19 (1) (d)] ; right to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business [Article 19 (1) (g)]. Many of you might thus say that its against the constitution, hence, illegal. But it is important to note that, these rights aren’t absolute, they are subject to reasonable restrictions as per the latter part of the Article. Hence, lockdown being a reasonable restriction, for public health and safety, is legal.

mexico alcohol poisoning claims 10 more lives

As mentioned in The Indian Express, dated 9 Jun due to the Corona-virus pandemic, sale of adulterated alcohol has increased exponentially and has claimed hundreds of lives in Mexico.

The government of state of Guerrero issued a statement saying “the latest 18 deaths occurred in and around the mountain township of Tlapa de Comonfort, after inhabitants drank a tequila-type drink from little-known brands. called “Rancho Escondido.” Another 16 people were hospitalized for poisoning symptoms; four remain in serious condition. This area is known for its poverty-ridden farming villages.

The Guerrero Health Department said the liquor was labeled as “distilled agave,” the cactus-like plant from which both tequila and mescal are made. Because tequila production is strictly limited to certain regions, drinks made outside those areas are sometimes labelled “agave liquor.”

The department said at least three brands were implicated in the poisonings: “Rancho Escondido,” “Jalón” and “100 Años. The victims were admitted to hospitals in such serious condition that they rapidly died. Authorities seized 505 bottles of the liquor from four stores in the area.

Due to the pandemic, the sale of legitimate alcohol had been banned across several towns in the country, resulting in people turning to cheaply-made alcohol. Many having also had lost their job and were unable to afford name brands anymore.

According to the authorities as many as 40 people have died in two states alone , during the month of May after drinking Methanol, which is a poisonous cousin of the ethanol alcohol , which is used in normal liquors. It can’t be smelled or tasted in drinks, and causes organ and brain damage, and its symptoms include chest pain, nausea, hyperventilation, blindness and even coma.

This is one of the more serious examples of how a disaster brings out the worst in some people, where they are willing to endanger the lives of those who are desperate, just to profit off of them.

Swiggy to shut down it’s independently working food delivery service-scootsy.

Bangalore-based food-tech unicorn, Swiggy plans to close its on-demand online food delivery service Scootsy, a Mumbai-based startup which it acquired in 2018, for an estimated value of Rs. 50 Crore, to expand its operations in the online food delivery segment.

Scootsy,  was permitted to function as an independent app, serving food from a curated list of brands (such as Masque, Nara Thai, Royal China, Trattoria),gourmet food stores, and  bakeries after the takeover in Mumbai.

Swiggy is one of the many big Indian brands that have been adversely affected by the Corona-virus pandemic.Food delivery business in India saw a 70% drop in food order volume, with just 25% of listed restaurants operational.

In the past month, Swiggy has concentrated on luxury ‘curated’ consumer food delivery and has been linking itself to premier hotel groups like ITC Hotels, Marriott, Hyatt, KA Hospitality and such similar brands—to raise its average order volume and size on its website as it aims to benefit further from high-ticket size orders.

Thus the major food startup is planning to fully merge Mumbai-based Scootsy, an already premier food delivery brand , on its own platform and will redirect Scootsy’s customers to the Swiggy app. With this it will also undertake the transitioning of Scootsy’s partners and delivery fleet onto the Swiggy platform.

“Swiggy has seen a increase in demand over the past few months for customized food choices from premium brands. In order to extend our reach to all discerning consumers across Mumbai, we will be transferring the services provided by Scootsy to Swiggy ‘s platforms in the near future. This will be the first big step in setting up the premium category for Swiggy,” said a Swiggy representative.

Recently, gourmet restaurants have slowly begun to tap food distribution services such as Swiggy to ensure continuity of business as the industry expects  changes in consumer behavior toward eateries.

Source: https://www.livemint.com/companies