Existential Moment for The high-Street, Traditional Shopper and Retailer

Reading time : 6 minutes

According  to a survey about the impact of coronavirus  (covid19)  on Indians  between March  and May 2020, retail stores consistently seemed more reliable during the survey period for consumer  to able to  buy  essential  goods.

The coronavirus  pandemic  represent  an “ existential threat”  to the  entire  retail sector  and there will  be  “fundamental changes” to longer – term business model. At the best times, many retailers were struggling to gain any footing with customer but now it is even more difficult to survive

SWISS CONSUMER  want to go shopping  again ,but  uncertainty remains. Many turned to online shopping because of COVID 19. The time it seems unlikely that high street shops face an existential threat. If Shopping  in future is no longer  an easy , pleasant and safe experience for consumer. When lockdowns will unwind is still unclear, but it seems certain the swiss   retail  sector faces a painful loss revenue.

The COVID-19  Outbreak has completely  changed   the face of retail  in India  and almost every country  worldwide. Until early to mid-may, most goods, such as furniture, clothes and books, were  either completely unavailable or available only online.IN survey  shows that the COVID -19 crisis is likely to trigger a decline in “traditional shoppers”- that  is, shoppers in brick –and-mortar stores – across all categories of goods. Almost two-third of respondent report that before the pandemic.

FOR EXAMPLE:  They Preferred to purchase  furniture and furnishing in shops, but only 60% say they will continue to do so after the crisis, a decrease of five percentage points .

Many Consumers delaying purchases:

 The survey also shows that since the  COVID -19 outbreak, SWISS consumers  have purchased mainly groceries, with other consumer goods less of priority. some consumer will only purchase  certain item again once the shops have responded.

The shopping experience versus health protection:

Traditionally, many  people enjoy the  atmosphere  and shopping experience of the high street, strolling along, window shopping, tempted by the sheer range of goods and distraction in shopping malls. As mention above, initial surveys and experiences from India and another country suggest that customers are now very purposefully buying what  they  bought in the past but in larger quantities.

If Queueing, physical distancing and the need to wear a face mask  in public spoil the shopping  experience- and once online retailer get delivery time back to normal then traditional shoppers may well  switch to online  shopping in large number. Retailers are therefore intending to take advantage  of the almost two months in which  shop  have been closed not only  to get their shop in order, but also to creatively introduce new safety  measures. both retailers and brands  need to do more to bring  the online and offline world together  and find new ways to meet evolving  customer needs fast.

Impact of COVID-19 on Indian Retailers:

Indian Retail Industry has more than 15 million retailers, both small and big, traditional and modern trade . Retail employs 40-50 million Indians directly of which Modern trade employs more than 6 million Indians equaling to almost 12% of the total Retail consumption of the country.

 Following were the key highlights of the survey results:

(1) Impact of non-food retailers –Most than 95% of non –food retailers have their shops closed in the lockdown and are looking at practically no revenues till the lockdown is in place. In the next 6 months, NON-FOOD RETAILERS EXPECT TO EARN 40% as compared to last year’s revenues.

(2)Impact on food retailers- most  of food retailers also sell non -essential goods in the same and /or different stores. The non –food business in the stores has come to a standstill in the lockdown leading to revenue loss.

(3) Overall business Outlook – 70% of retailers  expect business recovery  to happen in more than 6 months, 20% expect it to take more than a year 10% of Medium and Large Retailers expect  to earn any profits  till Aug’ 20, 26% of Small retailers expect to earn profits in the same time period.

(4) Manpower  rationalization – Small Retailers are expecting  to lay-off 30% of their manpower going  forward, this number falls to 12% for Medium Retailers and 5% for Large  Retailers.

All this could change  Rapidly , However . Our survey shows 19% of swiss national  expect to lose their job due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Author: Anushka Kumari

Editor: Kanishka VaishSenior Editor, LexLife India.

Overhauling of Epidemic Disease Act, 1897: In the Context of COVID 19

Reading time: 10 minutes.

Recently, various states in India have invoked legislation to curb this menace caused by a novel coronavirus. In this context, this article aims to review the legislation and its significance in the current scenario. It seems that the Epidemic Disease Act of 1897 is an archaic legislation as it came into existence 123 years ago. With the change in era, it is ignoramus of us to still be dependent on this Act. During this crucial crisis, a need is felt for consolidated, holistic, and significant legal provisions to curb the outbreak in India.

This article endeavours to provide the description, specific features or elements, historical outlook, limitations, and the amendments made under the said Act by our Government to tackle the current situation. It also aims to analyse each section of the Act invoked, which is significant for recommendations or any alterations in this discipline.

Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897

As per the advice of the Health Ministry, in March, the Union Government has invoked the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897. This Act came into force on 4th February 1897 when a Bubonic Plague had been discovered in Mandavi (then a part of Bombay, but now in Gujarat) during the nineteenth century, which disrupted daily lives and caused several deaths. Therefore, to prevent its spreading, the then Parliament enacted the said Act, consisting of four sections. Significant sections of this Act are:

  • Section 2 which states that the Government is empowered to take concrete actions and stipulate directions if the State is under a threat of any dangerous disease or the ordinary laws are insufficient for the purpose. Section 2A provides the Government with the power to make provisions for the inspection of any ships or vessels arriving or leaving ports and detention of a person who intends to sail or has sailed.
  • Section 3 deals with the framework which confers the Government with the power to impose penalties on those who disobey any regulations prescribed by the concerned authority under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (“IPC”). Section 188 as defined under Chapter X of IPC, “Of Contempts of the Lawful Authority of Public Servants” states that if any disobedience is caused by a person knowingly, leading to hindrance, annoyance, harm, or injury to any other person then such person will be punished under this section. The First Schedule of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, considers this offence as cognizable as well as bailable and can be brought to court by a Magistrate.
  • Section 4 of the same Act provides protection to the person against any suit or legal proceedings for anything done with bona fide intention under this Act.

Limitations of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897

This Act had been formulated 123 years ago, and keeping in mind the changes that happened during the recent years, it consists of several limitations. Gradually, principal factors responsible for the mushrooming of diseases have also been modified. For example, nowadays, we prefer to travel by air instead of a ship. The limitation arises here is that it focuses on traveling by ship or vessels and railways rather than airplanes.

As the Act was authorized by the Britishers to control the situation in Bombay, it could be doubted that their real motive behind the enactment of the said Act was to apprehend and seize public gatherings led by the revolutionist.

This Act needs a lot of moderation as with time, most epidemiological concepts have changed, including the precautionary measures undertaken to curb epidemic diseases. Besides, this Act is not in conformity with the recent scientific advancements that we use today to respond to these diseases. For instance, it insists on the isolation or quarantine of patients at home but, is reserved on the scientific methods used to curb outbreaks such as immunization, vaccination, medication, government response towards the disease, setting up a laboratory, etc. It focuses more on the aversion to the spread of the disease rather than to extirpate it. Thus, we need an Act that focuses more on scientific understanding rather than dealing with administrative and policing acts.

The Act refers to a “dangerous epidemic disease”, but does not define it. Criteria are not mentioned to determine how a disease is considered “dangerous” under the said Act and who decides whether a disease is dangerous or not. But the problem still persists; the said Act neither prescribes a situation as when it should be invoked nor does it tell us how to handle a scenario like the present one. It only empowers the Government to pass any guidelines or legislation as it deems fit. Also, it does not provide any directions to the Government for the organization of committees or any special authority which can represent both Central and State Government and can act on its own in a preventive manner without waiting for the Government’s approval.

This Act does not provide any relief and financial assistance to the general public, to sustain their livelihood during a crisis like the present one. Further, it can impose only criminal penalties for its violation rather than imposing both criminal and civil penalties. It also does not protect the healthcare workers, police personnel, or any other person from harassment, abuse, or any injury caused by performing their duties.

Most importantly, it does not protect citizens’ fundamental rights such as, right to privacy which comprises dignity, personal freedom, and liberty. Although there are some reasonable restrictions on fundamental rights in respect of public interest, the legislation does not provide a guarantee against the abuse of privacy right by the State.

Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020

After the approval of the proclamation of an Ordinance by the Union Government, to protect the nurses, doctors, and other healthcare service personnel and their property from attacks and harassment during epidemics, the President had sanctioned this Ordinance, which covers the limitations and flaws in the Act.

This Ordinance enhances the powers of the Union to prevent such an epidemic and seeks to offer protection to medical professionals.Major provisions of this ordinance are:

Section 1A (a), which defines “act of violence” to consist of the following acts committed against healthcare service personnel:

  • harassment of such personnel and prohibiting him from discharging his duties,
  • harm, injury, or danger to his or her life,
  • obstructing him in discharging his duties,
  • damage to any property of such personnel.

The Ordinance defines “healthcare service personnel” as the personnel who are at the risk of being impacted by an epidemic while carrying out his duties. They consist of:

  • any public healthcare personnel,
  • any other person authorized under the said act to avert the epidemic,
  • any person declared by the government as such personnel.

It also expands the power of the Union to monitor any bus, train, ship, or airplane, arriving or leaving from any station, port, or aerodrome and detain any person intending to travel by any of these means.

For the protection of the Healthcare service personnel and their property, provisions have been made against those who commit or abet any act against the healthcare community, punishable with imprisonment between three months and five years along with a fine ranging between Rs.50,000 and Rs.2,00,000. If an act causes grievous hurt, then imprisonment will be between six months and seven years along with a fine ranging between Rs.1,00,000 and Rs.5,00,000.

Further, a provision has been made for the time-bound investigation which is to be done within 30 days after the registration of the First Information Report, and inquiry must be completed within one year thereafter. Failure in this regard must be recorded, and a maximum additional period of six months can be granted for the same.

Conclusion

To combat such an epidemic our country has amended this Act to safeguard the life as well as the property of the health service workers. Unfortunately, before this ordinance, no legislation existed to protect the life and property of the healthcare community during the pandemic. Although each State has amended this Act as per their requirements and has their Acts to grapple with the current scenario. There was a need for the single enactment in which all the provisions are assembled so that its implementation can be monitored. It is contemplated that the passing of this Ordinance would bring positive changes to the benefit of the healthcare community, enabling then to perform their duties without any obstruction.

Author: Soumya Nayak, student of National Law University Odisha.

Editor: Astha Garg, Junior Editor, LexLife India.

Analysis: Karnataka HC on Social Distancing Norms

Reading time: 8-10 minutes.

India went into a lockdown owing to the novel coronavirus on March 24th 2020. Since then we have seen that the number of COVID-19 cases does not seem to stop. With the passing time, the Government enabled a low transition to reopen after the lockdown. For the same, the Central Government laid down two National Directives for COVID-19 Management, one on May 30th and the other on June 29th. The Karnataka Government too issued guidelines called the Standard Operating Procedure, which listed social distancing and safety measures for various occasions during the pandemic. Violation of the aforementioned provisions is subject to legal action. There have been allegations of the violation of safety and social distancing orders by public and political figures in Karnataka. The same was questioned before the Karnataka High Court by the way of a Public Interest Litigation.

Facts of the Issue

The aforementioned Plea was filed as two applications by two advocates. The first by Advocate G.R. Mohan, and the second by Advocate Puthige Ramesh. There were three allegations highlighted in these applications.

First being, that the former Chief Minister, a highly influential man in the State of Karnataka, organised a marriage ceremony for his family member, without keeping in mind social distancing provisions. The alleged public figure in question was the former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy. Photos and videos of the wedding went viral, depicting a violation of the social distancing guidelines like not wearing masks and lockdown norms like large gatherings. However, Kumaraswamy claimed that no one from outside attended the wedding and also that the venue was shifted to a green zone, to adhere to the lockdown norms. This incident is noted to have taken place on April 17, 2020. In court, the Petitioner Advocate Ramesh argued that till date no legal action has been taken against politicians for violating COVID-19 safety norms.

Secondly, the Court was told that the ceremony conducted on June 27 to commemorate the erection of the 108-foot tall statue of Kempegowda, did not follow the necessary social distancing norms either. The ceremony in question is pooja and commemoration of the construction of the aforementioned statue, in front of the international airport in Bangalore.

Third, being the safety violations that took place during the cycle protest rally in Bangalore on June 29. The rally took place to protest the spike in petrol prices. There have been allegations of the rally violating gathering orders and non-compliance to wearing marks. It has been noted that a day after the aforementioned rally, Karnataka reported more than 1000 cases in a single day. Bengaluru alone saw more than 700 cases on Sunday. The party claimed to have obtained permission to gather 200 people while maintaining adequate social distancing and precautionary measures.

Another important observation made before the Court by Advocate Ramesh was that there were several inconsistencies in the written submissions filed by the State Government. This shows bias towards publicly and politically influential persons.

Legal Provisions Involved

The afore-stated examples by the Petitioner call for different guidelines and legal provisions. When India first went into lockdown for 21 days, the citizens were strictly forbidden to conduct any public gathering, except funerals with a capacity of twenty people, until the relaxation and release of further guidelines on April 20th, 2020.

While, from June 1st 2020, India went in “Unlock 1.0”. Ministry of Home Affairs issues guidelines to be followed till June 30, 2020. The Government allowed for gatherings limited to fifty people. These guidelines allowed for religious places in “non-containment” zones to open, but with maintaining a distance of a minimum of six feet between the worshippers.

Both of the aforementioned guidelines were issues under the Disaster Management Act, 2005. Non-compliance of these guidelines could call for legal action against the individual under Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005. These Sections state in detail, offences and penalties for non-compliance with the directions laid by the State or Central Government under the said Act. These Sections impose a punishment ranging from one to two years of imprisonment or a fine or both.

Along with this Section 188 Indian Penal Code, which deals with disobedience to follow orders promulgated by public servants, will also be attracted for non-compliance of these orders. This section imposes a punishment of either a month of imprisonment, fine of Rs.200 or both.

The Government of Karnataka also issued precautionary measures of its own, under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897. Sections 2 and 2-A of the Epidemic Diseases Act places powers among the State Governments to take certain actions when they are satisfied that the State is visited or threatened with an outbreak of any dangerous epidemic disease.

Thus, came into the picture the Karnataka Epidemic Disease Ordinance, 2020. Sections 4, 15 and 17 of this Ordinance empowered the State Government to issue these guidelines. The measures imposed strict maintenance of social distancing of one metre along with wearing masks in “Public places”. Non-compliance of these said orders will be met with a fine of Rs.200 for violation in Municipal Corporation areas and Rs.100 in others. 

The Court was also made to look into Section 283 of the Indian Penal Code which dealt with a penalty for obstructing public ways or lines of navigation.

Critical Analysis

The Court opined that the State must enforce the adequate provisions in place irrespective of the influence of the individual in question. The Court mainly focused on non-violation of the guidelines issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

Another observation was made with regard to violation of the guidelines during the protest rally on June 29 2020. Instead of filing for action under the Disaster Management Act, the violators were only convicted under Section 283 of the Indian Penal Code. This said Section does not deal with a violation of COVID-19 guidelines but only deals with obstruction of public navigation. Only a fine of Rs. 200 was imposed on the violators.

The Court also directed the State to issue a summary of all the action being taken against the violators of the guidelines issued under the Disaster Management Act. These actions must be under Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act or Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code.

Conclusion

This judgement shows the reliability of India’s judiciary. It highlights the morals our judiciary stands on, that is, “Justice is blind”. This judgement also shows how serious India is about its fight against the novel coronavirus.

Author: Vidhi Basrani from O.P. Jindal Global University.

Editor: Astha Garg, Junior Editor, Lexlife India.

Flickering Mental Health During Lockdown

Reading time: 8-10 minutes.

Novel coronavirus disease or COVID-19 pandemic (officially designated by World Health Organization WHO) is a major health crisis that has affected several nations in the world. As of now more than 7.5 million cases have been reported and around 0.4 million people have died of this virus. It is the opinion of the renowned Clinical Psychologist Jonathan Porteus that ‘Our society is definitely in a collective state of trauma’.

The lockdown induced by novel coronavirus has brought the lives of people at an absolutely stand-still. Not being able to see the light of day, go to the gym to reduce stress, or see one’s family members and friends can be very lonely and depressing. Currently, around 2.6 billion (accounting for one-third of the world’s population) are living under some kind of lockdown or quarantine. This is arguably the largest psychological experiment ever conducted. Within a week of the commencement of the nationwide lockdown, the number of reported cases of mental illness in India rose by 20%, as depicted in a study by the Indian Psychiatry Society. A review was published recently in Lancet that studied literature on the psychological impact of the quarantine restrictions. According to Lancet the separation from loved ones and curtailment of the movement of people has potentially exposed them to a range of psychological conditions ranging from post-traumatic stress symptoms to anger, confusion, stress, depression, insomnia and emotional exhaustion. Recent news articles have also highlighted the increase in suicide rates and mental health concerns caused by the severe lockdown restrictions. In this article we will discuss the effect of lockdown on various groups of citizens.

Impact On Public in General

The isolation and fear associated with this lockdown is escalating nervousness among people all over the world. A woman with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (“OCD”) cannot stop disinfecting furniture and kitchen appliances, sanitizing car keys and toys, keeping even vegetables and groceries in the sun. A man suffering from anxiety disorder terms this lockdown as an ‘invisible enemy’ and is finding it very difficult to cope with it. Constant health warnings and alerts are all that he hears. According to Kathryn Kinmond, a psychotherapist in Staffordshire and a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, uncertainty is a key driver of anxiety. “Coronavirus gives rise to lots of uncertainty, and this has particular resonance with people who suffer from anxiety.” It is not only anxiety and OCD that are worrying people all over the world, but also panic attacks can be seen as a response to the pandemic. According to David Crepaz-Keay from the Mental Health Foundation, “One of the things that lead to panic attacks is excessive worrying for unsubstantiated reasons”.

Thus, not only those with pre-existing psychiatric problems but also the elderly population are struggling with greater levels of loneliness and depression. Another man aged 70 years lives alone in an apartment and spends his time reading the newspaper, walking and cooking, but the lockdown has completely cut-off this ties from real people. “These are strange times,” says Pratima Murthy, head of department, psychiatry, at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in Bengaluru. “What we generally prescribe for the elderly is social interaction for their emotional well-being. And now they’ve been told the opposite: to physically distance themselves, even from their grandchildren”, she says.

Amidst this lockdown, we must keep in mind that there is a difference between physical distancing and social distancing. Staying connected through digital platforms like Whatsapp, Facebook, video-calls with family members living far away plays a vital role in fending off anxiety and depressive behaviour. A 25-year old woman lives in Noida while her parents live in Ahmedabad. She calls them thrice a day, asking if they have taken their medicines, eaten food etc. In this time, she is constantly fearful of what would happen if something were to happen to them, and she was not able to reach them on time.

Staying together can be stressful as well. Anita, a homemaker, is drowning mentally and physically. She has to make a special effort to keep her children occupied all day, now that schools are closed, while at the same time keep the house in order. With her husband is working from home, he is not able to help with the household chores or the children either. It was seen that in cases where the parents were quarantined with children, the mental health toll became even steeper. In one study, no less than 28% of quarantined parents warranted a diagnosis of “trauma-related mental health disorder”. For people with dysfunctional family backgrounds, such as living with an abusive partner, dominating and over-indulgent parents can also trigger anxiety and depression.

Impact On Quarantines

We understand that the measures taken by the government to stop this health pandemic, including restrictions on movement, closure of schools and colleges are necessary to curb the spreading of the virus, and in turn to save lives.

However, this crisis is affecting many young people in ways that will risk long-term consequences for their mental health. Almost one in four children living under COVID-19 lockdowns, social restrictions and faculty closures are handling feelings of hysteria , with many in danger of lasting psychological distress, including depression. Their education, relationships and socialising have been severely disrupted and current projections for the economy and the job marketplace will be adding to their stress. 

Due to the pandemic many children are unable to get access to help from the counsellors which they were taking before lockdown and this poses a significant challenge in front of the government. The statistics show that one in four youths with mental health issues cannot get help during lockdown. Children and youth who are already at risk such as those living in challenging home environments or those who lack social support or whose families are already facing poverty are especially vulnerable. Restrictions on the movement and not able to go out of the house have worsened their mental health because there is no escape for them. Another common problem that adds to their anxiety, is witnessing domestic violence and fights amongst family members.

Research shows that feelings of helplessness, loneliness and fear of being socially excluded, stigmatised or separated from loved ones are common in any epidemic, while prolonged stress, boredom and social isolation, as well as a lack of outdoor play, can lead to a higher number of mental health conditions in children, such as anxiety and even depression. A survey by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) found that 70% of 18 to 24-year-olds are experiencing more anxiety than usual, compared to 47% people above the age of 75. 

Impact On Health Workers                        

Dealing with the pandemic has had a significant negative impact on the mental health of health workers. These people have dealt with many a tragedy, but this is another form of crisis. Over and above all the sickness and death surrounding them, the fear of being infected takes a steep toll on their mental and emotional health as well. This is the time to ask them if they’re all right, and to tell them how to look after themselves.

Frontline medical workers are at risk not only of adverse physical outcomes due to coronavirus, but also of psychological ones. Previous pandemic data, particularly after long durations of quarantine indicates that the health care workers may develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and drug use disorders. Preliminary data from China and Italy during the Covid-19 pandemic provide further evidence; health workers in China reported depression (50.3 per cent), anxiety (44.6 per cent) and insomnia (34.0 per cent). Concerns about these data are compounded by high rates of pre-existing mental health and substance abuse disorders in this population, with physicians having high suicide rates.

The pressure to act in a timely manner and successfully diagnose, isolate and treat has been overwhelming, particularly in the midst of intense public and media scrutiny. In addition, due to the increased risk of exposure to the virus, our frontline doctors, nurses and health care professionals fear that they may contract COVID-19 themselves. They are concerned about bringing the virus home and passing it on to their loved ones and family members. Our healthcare staff also reports increased levels of stress when dealing with patients who are unwilling to cooperate or refuse to comply with safety instructions. Feelings of helplessness when dealing with critically ill patients, in the context of limited intensive care beds and resources is commonly reported. The long-term use of protective equipment causes difficulty in breathing and limited access to toilets and water, resulting in subsequent physical and mental fatigue. A very recent study among healthcare professionals at the COVID-19 tertiary infectious disease hospital in China revealed a high incidence of anxiety and stress disorders among frontline medical staff, with nurses having higher incidence of anxiety than doctors. Almost 10% of the quarantine hospital staff reported “high depressive symptoms” up to three years after quarantine.

From studies conducted during the SARS epidemic, we know that quarantine has a serious effect on the mental health of health workers. Symptoms of acute stress disorder, depression, and alcohol abuse were predicted. Even three years later, quarantine was associated with post-traumatic stress symptoms, which were again more serious in health care workers. As a result, many experienced health-care professionals sought to minimize contact with patients. Some didn’t report back to work at all.

Suggestions

Mental responses such as anxiety, depression and panic attacks have an immediate negative impact on our sleep patterns, productivity, concentration and engagement. Therefore, if careful management is not implemented, it can have severe consequences. In the words of Walt Disney,

“Happiness may be a state of mind. It’s just consistent with the way you check out things”.

Lockdown is the best time for self-introspection i.e. time which is spent in exploring oneself and practising self -care. Three self- care steps if practised regularly can prove beneficial – do something that you love [sing, dance, etc], connect with someone you have not spoken to over a long time, and engage with inspiration such as nature, motivational quotes, art, communicating remotely with family and friends Practising mindfulness or meditation can boost mental and physical health. It helps in focusing attention, enhances concentration and calms the body as well as the mind. Feelings of depression can make a person lethargic and slow; on the other hand, anxiety can make a person rush. Therefore, maintaining a proper balance between the mind and body is very important. For this exercising becomes important as it lowers stress levels and gives immediate boost to one’s mood. One of the crucial wellness habits is practising social interaction. Switching to real- time communication is very important. Arranging informal video-calls with friends, family members, relatives can play a pivotal role during missed coffee breaks and other moments. But at the same time restricting from media and social media coverage to prevent it from becoming too overwhelming is also essential. We should obtain news only from credential resources.

The Government and NGOs can also take some steps to ensure self-help interventions are put in place, to help address the needs of the affected populations; educate people about the expected psychological impact and reactions to trauma if they’re curious about receiving it. Make sure people understand that a psychological reaction is normal; launch a selected website to deal with psychosocial issues; confirm that folks with acute issues can find the assistance that they need.

Authors: Soumya Sharma and Kanishka Pamecha from Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow.

Editor: Astha Garg, Junior Editor, Lexlife India.

Which items come under MSP?

Reading time: 8-10 minutes.

In a proposal to monetarily engage tribal during the COVID-19 emergency, the Centre is intending to build the base help value (MSP) of minor forest produce (MFP) by 16-30%. The order issued by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs in New Delhi today pronounces that the MSP for MFPs is reviewed once in every 3 years by the Pricing Cell constituted under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India.

The ministry of tribal is probably going to build the MSP of 50 items which are gathered by tribal from backwoods. The strategy, which was forced by the Congress-drove UPA government in 2013-14, comprises fixing MSP for distinguished MFPs gathered by tribal in remote areas. These tribal then sell the MFPs in town commercial centres. In the event that the market costs fall beneath MSP, the state government offices move in to acquire the product. The choice to build the MSP and remember more things for the rundown comes when the Centre is worried that the tribal would not have sufficient cash for fundamental things.

 What is MSP?

Agriculture countenances a few vulnerabilities under Indian condition going from climate, creation, quality and markets to give some examples. While the crop production is regularly seasonal and territorial, the utilization is round the year and the nation over. Along these lines, advertising costs typically keep an eye on unpredictable. The costs will in general breakdown during harvest season overabundance and overwhelming appearances. The justification at the Minimum Support Cost (MSP) is the affirmation of least value that guarantees that farmers recuperate his expense and gets a good return for his speculation.

MSP is the base cost at which the government assurances to buy the farmer’s produce, regardless of what the market cost is. MSP is reported toward the start of the farming seasons – Rabi (winter) and Kharif (stormy) seasons. As the costs are reported before the yields are prepared to collect, it guarantees the farmer of getting a base cost from the government and not stress over the costs in the market after gather. The MSP is a somewhat sovereign assurance that farmers won’t be permitted to endure if the costs fall underneath the minimum support price. It works like a choice agreement where the legislature has a commitment to purchase if the market value falls underneath MSP and the farmers are under no commitment if the market cost is more than MSP.

The Commission at Agricultural Costs and Costs (CACP) embraces an activity consistently for showing up MSP dependent on different components like the expense of production, by and large interest flexibly, national and international prices, inter-crop value equality, terms of exchange among Agriculture and non-Agricultural areas, etc. Notwithstanding, CACP suggestions are not requisite on the government.In articulating the recommendations in respect of the level of minimum support prices and other non-price measures, the Commission takes into account, apart from an inclusive view of the complete assembly of the economy of a specific commodity or group of commodities, the following factors such as Cost of production, Trends in market prices, Demand and supply, Input-output price parity, Effect on industrial cost structure, Effect on issue prices and implications for subsidy, Effect on general price level, etc. The Commission makes usage of both micro-level data and aggregates at the level of district, state and the country.

The statistics or data used by the Commission, inter-alia include the following:[1]Prices of commodities vended by the farmers and of those purchased by them and changesDemand related information such as trends and capacity of the processing industry and total and per capita consumption.Cost of meting out of agricultural products and changesSupply related information such as area,  imports and exports, yield and production and domestic availability and stocks with the Government/public agencies or industryCost of cultivation per hectare in numerous regions of the country and changesMacro-economic variables say general level of prices, consumer price indices and those replicating monetary and fiscal factorsPrices of the spinoffs of the farm products for example sugar, jute goods, jaggery edible/non-edible oils and cotton yarn and changes.

Legal provisions

The consumers in India have been conversed countless rights through various legislations like the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 or the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The same doesn’t grasp accurate for the farmers. Internationally, agricultural turned into a point of convergence of discussion just in 1986 during the GATT Round, also known as the Uruguay Round, wherein agriculture for the first time was included in trade deliberations as it was considered that farmers are crucial for the growth of an economy.

In 2001, International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture was endorsed during the Food and Agriculture Organization Conference. Afterward, India presented the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmer’s Rights Act, 2001 in this way getting one of the chief countries to do as such. The said Act, perceived the privileges of raisers and ranchers and gave exceptional components to shield their inclinations.

Envision if Article 32 wasn’t there in the Constitution of India, in such a circumstance the solution for uphold all the key rights ensured in that would have stopped to exist, in this way making key rights insufficient. Giving the MSP to the farmers with no lawful plan of action if there should be an occurrence of infringement can be contrasted with a Constitution without having right to established remedies.

The Constitution of India doesn’t expressly present any rights to the ranchers. In any case, part IV (Article 36-51) of the Indian Constitution manages the Directive Principles of State Policies (DPSP) listing financial objectives for the state. The state, in encouragement of the DPSP, takes dynamic measures for guaranteeing social and financial status of each resident. The Apex Court on account of Olga Tellis v. Bombay Municipal Corporation, decided that privilege to vocation is basic for acknowledgment of right to life as contained under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

A conjoint perusing of Article 38(2) and Article 39(a) of the Constitution would involve that the state will take vital measures to dispense with imbalance and give chances to tying down satisfactory methods for occupation to the residents. In facilitation of the previously mentioned sacred arrangements and judgment of the SC in the Maneka Gandhi Case and the ongoing bearing by the Uttarakhand HC, the ranchers should be given sure lawful rights to tie down satisfactory methods for job so as to ensure their poise which is their basic right as contained in Article 21 of the Constitution.

The Minimum Support Price is a type of market interference by the government to guard farmers or producers from any sheer decline in the prices of agricultural supplies. Minimum Support Price, still, is not a legal or statutory right. This leaves the farmers at the clemency of the obtaining officials. As aforementioned, the two standing supports of the Bill are making the MSP a legal right, and acquaint with a grievance redressal mechanism.ConclusionThe MSP for MFP scheme was on track by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in 2013 to safeguard fair and remunerative rates to MFP amassers.

The total expenditure for the scheme is Rs 967 crore as Centre’s part for the planned period (2013-14 to 2016-17), according to The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED). Although this is a virtuous step, the government, especially Ministry of Tribal Affairs and TRIFED, should be lively enough to issue the stricture of Fair Average Quality (FAQ) so that state activities can go forward and implement the scheme.

Author: Rinsha Narayanan from Christ (Deemed to be University), Delhi NCR.

Editor: Silky Mittal, Junior Editor, Lexlife India

Bhupendrasinh Chudasama’s election issue: Legal angle

Reading time: 8-10 minutes.

Amidst the grappling and struggles from the COVID-19 crises, the Vijay Rupani-led BJP government in Gujarat has suffered a significant blow from the Gujarat High Court on May 12th, wherein Justice Paresh Upadhyay via video conferencing has declared the election of Bhupendrasinh Chudasama from the Dholka Constituency of Gujarat as void on the grounds of malpractices and manipulation.

The 2017 Dholka Constituency election was a cut throat competition, where Bhupendrasinh Chudasama after securing 71530 votes emerged victorious by a wafer thin margin of 327 votes over the candidate of Indian National Congress Ashwin Rathod who secured a total count of 71203 votes!

Ashwin Rathod challenged the validity of the election in the Gujarat High Court on the ground that there was a manipulation of the voting process by the returning officer who illegally rejected/ excluded 429 postal ballot papers from consideration at the time of counting of votes.

Bhupendrasinh Chudasama moved to the Hon’ble Supreme Court just a day after the judgment was delivered by the Gujarat High Court challenging the same on the ground that the High Court had failed to appreciate proper facts of the case. “The High Court has reached a completely erroneous conclusion in holding the successful election of the petitioner as illegal and void,” the appeal said.

Facts of the case

Ashwin Rathod filled an Election Petition before the Gujarat High Court wherein he challenged the General Election to the Gujarat Legislative Assembly held in December 2017, for 58-Dholka Constituency.

In the present case Mr. Ashwinbhai Kamsubhai Rathod (the petitioner) was the candidate that was set up by the Indian National Congress Party for the said constituency whereas Mr. Bhupendrasinh Manubha Chudasama (the respondent) was the candidate set up by the Bharatiya Janta Party. The said election took place on the 14th of December 2017. The counting of votes for the said election was held on the 18th of December 2017 and the result of the same was announced on the same date. As per the result, Mr. Bhupendrasinh Manubha Chudasama (respondent No. 2) was declared as the returned candidate, by securing total 71530 votes, out of which 71189 votes were received through EVMs and 341 votes were received through postal ballots. The petitioner i.e. Mr. Ashwinbhai Kamsubhai Rathod secured a total of 71203 votes, out of which 70675 votes were received through EVMs and 528 votes were received through postal ballots.

The following were the grievances that were put forth by Mr. Ashwinbhai Kamsubhai (the petitioner): –

  • as against the victory margin of 327 votes, 429 postal ballot papers were illegally rejected / excluded from consideration by the Returning Officer, at the time of counting of votes, which has materially affected the result,
  • the exclusion of those 429 postal ballots was behind everybody’s back,
  • to conceal this exclusion, election record is systematically manipulated by the Returning Officer,
  • to manipulate the election record and in turn to conceal the said manipulation, all the orders / instructions of the Election Commission of India, including mandatory instructions, regarding procedure of counting of votes, preparation of election record and announcement of result were defied by the Returning Officer, on the day of counting of votes. 

He has further contended that Mr. Bhupendrasinh Manubha Chudasama has got all the above things done through the returning officer by virtue of his position as the Revenue Minister in furtherance of his prospects in the said election, and thereby Mr. Bhupendrasinh Manubha Chudasama has indulged in corrupt practices as defined under Section 123(7) of Representation of the People Act, 1951.  

Main arguments

  • Arguments of the Petitioner

The petitioner contended that after the counting of the votes he received two Final Result Sheets from the returning officer. The first one showed that the Returning Officer received a total of 927 postal ballots wherein none of the postal ballots were rejected by him for the purpose of counting. However, the second Final Result Sheets that was received by the petitioner from the Returning Officer showed a total of 1356 postal ballots out of which 429 postal ballots were rejected by the Returning Officer at the time of counting of votes. On the basis of these grounds the petitioner contended that – there is manipulation of election record, because there cannot be two Final Result Sheets, depicting two different figures of votes received through postal ballots. It was further pleaded that, the process of counting of votes was illegal and against the instructions of the Election Commission of India and the difference of 429 postal ballots is more than the victory margin of 327 votes, which has materially affected the result of this election.

The petitioner further contended the recounting of votes was asked by and on behalf on him but the Returning Officer did not abide to such a request. Further as per the instructions of the Election Commission of India, though a CD containing the record of complete videography of counting process should have been given by the Returning Officer to all candidates or their election agents free of cost after the counting process is over, the same was not given to the petitioner or his election agent by the Returning Officer, inspite of that being asked for.

It was finally contended that the Respondent No. 2 i.e. Mr. Bhupendrasinh Manubha Chudasama and Respondent No. 13 i.e. Mr. Dhaval Jani, the Returning Officer were involved in the commission of corrupt practices. The petitioner brought to the notice of the court that Respondent No. 2 got Mr. Dhaval Jani posted as Deputy Collector at Dholka, by transferring one officer who was already working there, after the code of conduct came in force. The returning officer was under the influence of Respondent No. 2 and that is why the returning officer manipulated the entire counting process to ensure that Respondent No. 2 gets elected by hook or by crook.

On the basis of all these contentions the petitioner prayed that the election of Mr. Bhupendrasinh Manubha Chudasama be declared as void, and the petitioner shall be declared as elected in his place.

  • Arguments of the Respondent (No.2)

Mr. Bhupendrasinh Manubha Chudasama contended that he was not present at the counting center, on the date of counting of votes and therefore, he could not have any personal knowledge regarding what had happened or was going on that day, within the counting hall. He further contended by referring to the written statement of the returning officer Mr. Dhaval Jani, that nothing wrong had happened at any stage of the election in question, not even in the counting hall, on the date of counting of votes. Mr. Bhupendrasinh Manubha Chudasama denied the allegations in relation to the alleged corrupt practice involved during the election process.

Salient features of the judgment

The case that was heard over 73 hearing and the last hearing being heard on 10th February was decided on 12th May. The features or finding of the judgments are mentioned herein below: – 

  • The court upheld the fact that 429 postal ballot papers were illegally rejected / excluded from consideration by the Returning Officer at the time of counting of votes for this election. It is further held that, the result of the election, in so far as it concerns the returned candidate from 58-Dholka Constituency, has been materially affected by the said illegal rejection of the votes.
  • Also the court upheld that, the procedure adopted for counting of votes in the election in question was against the orders of the Election Commission of India and was illegal. Therefore, due to such illegalities the result of the said election has been materially affected.
  • As the consequence to the above two points the court declared that, the election of the returned candidate (Mr. Bhupendrasinh Manubha Chudasama) from 58-Dholka Constituency, is void under Section 100(1)(d)(iii) and Section 100(1)(d)(iv) respectively of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
  • The court also held that ‘corrupt practice’ as defined under Section 123(7) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 was committed during the said election. It is proven that, Mr. Bhupendrasinh Manubha Chudasama and his election agent have not only attempted but have successfully obtained and procured assistance from the concerned Returning Officer for the furtherance of the prospects of Mr. Bhupendrasinh Manubha Chudasama in the election in question, and further that, for that purpose Mr. Chudasama and the concerned Returning Officer Mr. Dhaval Jani were hands-in-glove in the election in question.
  • Therefore, as a consequence to this, the court declare the election of Mr. Chudasama void under Section 100(1)(b) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
  • Lastly the prayer of the petitioner Mr. Ashwinbhai Kamsubhai Rathod that he shall be declared as duly elected candidate from 58-Dholka Constituency for the Gujarat Assembly Elections held on 14.12.2017 in place of Mr. Chudasama the respondent No.2, was rejected by this court.

Critical analysis

This case brought forth the bitter truth of how the ones in power can manipulate the system as per their own whims and fancies. What’s more deplorable is the fact that this event occurred in a country which is known to be world’s largest democracy; this event occurred in a country which is supposed to have one of the most rigid election processes. Despite all these facts the political leaders often find their ways through these rigid walls by way of corruption and their undue influence.

Further this case has not only made the mockery out of the Election Commission of India but has also ensued the everlasting debate of whether the judicial process of our country is nothing but a means to delay justice. In the present scenario as well Mr. Chudasama has filed an appeal in the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court has ordered stay upon the judgment of High Court. What this means is that Mr. Chudasama will continue to be a member of the Legislative Assembly in Gujarat. 

Conclusion

This is a rare incident in which any incumbent law minister’s election was termed void by the High Court in the state and probably in the country. However, such judgments are necessary to ensure that the sanctity of our nation is intact and is not destroyed by the ones in power. Further the Supreme Court should keep in view that Mr. Chudasama has already enjoyed more than half of the total tenure i.e. in total he has enjoyed 30 months in power out of the total 60 and if the Supreme Court takes long to reach a verdict then it would defeat the whole purpose of undoing the unjust and wrong because then Mr. Chudasama would have enjoyed the majority of tenure and that too through corrupt means!

Author: Akash Kumar Singh from ILS LAW COLLEGE, Pune

Editor: Dhawal Srivastava from Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala.

Doctrine of force majeure: COVID-19 angle

Reading time: 8-10 minutes.

The COVID-19 virus, that broke out late in 2019, originating from China has, since then only continued to worsen. Early in 2020, the COVID-19 was labelled a pandemic, i.e. the spread of the virus was no more contained within certain regions- all the countries faced a threat of its population being affected by the virus. The virus, being novel and having a form that had never been seen before, spread vigorously around the world. There are no forms of treatment that can cure a patient and there exists no vaccine yet. Therefore, in order to prevent the spread of the virus and safeguard their populations countries have mandated social distancing measures and have gone into complete lockdowns for months together, restricting the movement of people around the country.

Due to such extensive restrictions, various businesses are beginning to see situations wherein, they might not be able to honour their obligations under various contracts. In order to be able to ensure that such non-performance of obligations does not lead to a violation of the provisions under various contracts, companies and businesses have begun looking into the possibility of using the defence of Force Majeure, translating from French to mean ‘Superior Strength’.

Explaining Force Majeure: Basic concept

Before delving into the qualifications required for Force Majeure to become a successful defence for non-performance of obligations, one first needs to understand the basic definition of the term Force Majeure. Black’s Law Dictionary defines Force Majeure to be ‘an event of effect that can be neither anticipated nor controlled. It Is a contractual provision allocating the risk of loss if performance becomes impossible or impracticable, especially as a result of an event that the parties could not have anticipated or controlled’.  Indian statutes do not exclusively deal with Force Majeure, and no definition to the same can be found within the legal framework in Indian, some respite is provided by the Indian Contracts Act, 1872, under Section 32 of the Act. This Section talks about the contingency of contracts, stating that if the completion of an obligation is dependent on the occurrence of another event, and the occurrence of the event is rendered impossible, then the Contract becomes void.

Contracts often have a Force Majeure clause within them. These clauses also generally define what would constitute Force Majeure for that specific contract. For example, these conditions could be Act of God, wars, internal disturbance within the country, sanctions, trade embargos etc. Even in the instance that the occurrence of a specified event is not explicitly mentioned to be a qualifier for the Force Majeure clause to be applicable, the language of these clauses usually also contains a ‘catch-all’ phrase. These ‘catch-all’ phrases are usually worded along the lines of ‘inclusive of, but not limited to’, to ensure that even if there is an unforeseen event that occurs affecting the contract, the parties have the ability to void it. The only common standard to be applied to the events qualifying to be Force Majeure is that the occurrence of the event could definitely not be foreseen by either of the parties to the contract.

Relevence of Force Majeure

As already stated before, a Force Majeure clause in a contract is invoked to void the contract in a condition that the performance of obligations under a contract are rendered impossible due to the occurrence of an unforeseen event. The effects of invoking a Force Majeure clause can usually be characterised into the following three means:

  • The performance of the obligation is suspended till such a time as the obligation can be carried out after the impossibility of the occurrence of the event is mitigated.
  • The time limit within which the obligation is to be performed is extended to accommodate any difficulties caused due to the occurrence of the event.
  • The obligations under the contract are completely voided, and the parties are not bound by the terms of the contract.

In conditions where there are unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances wherein one party to a contract cannot fulfil an obligation due to no fault of theirs, and due to an event that could in no way be foreseen by the organisation, it is necessary to protect such organisations. Without according protection to such parties, they would become liable to damages if sued by other contracting parties for non-performance of obligations. Being sued for an obligation which has been rendered impossible and being forced to pay damages goes against the very tenets on which contract law is based upon.

Recognition of COVID-19 as Force Majeure

One of the first and straightforward means of inclusion of COVID-19 as a Force Majeure is if the terms epidemic/ pandemic are mentioned within the Force Majeure clause itself. This would directly recognise COVID-19 as a qualifier for invoking the clause as a legitimate reason to void or suspend obligations under a contract. This is because COVID-19 has been declared as an epidemic within the country, and as a Pandemic by the World Health Organisation in all international transactions.

However, complications arise if epidemics or pandemics are not considered to be valid reasons to invoke the Force Majeure clause under the specific contract. In these conditions, what should be considered is if COVID-19 can be included under one of the other criteria mentioned in the contract. The Principle of Ejusdem Generis comes into play herein. It needs to be seen the extent to which the conditions mentioned in the contract can be extended to, and whether COVID-19 fits into those interpretations.

One of the most popular means of trying and fitting the COVID-19 into the Force Majeure clause is by applying the principle of Vis Major or Act of God, a common principle to be mentioned in most Force Majeure clauses. Even though there exists no clear jurisprudence in the Indian jurisdiction to suggest that the occurrence of an Epidemic or a Pandemic could be considered as an Act of God, the Indian Supreme Court has given judgements based on similar lines. In the judgement delivered by the Supreme Court in the case of The Divisional Controller, KSRTC v Mahadeva Shetty, [2003 7 SCC 197]the court mentioned that the interpretation of the term ‘Act of God’ could be extended to the effects of all of nature’s forces, which occur with no intervention from human beings. However, the Supreme Court also laid out a caveat mentioning that every instance of a natural calamity or disaster does not obliviate any and all obligations of the parties bound by a contract.

Another complication arises wherein the Force Majeure clause is in itself extremely restrictive in its operation, or if there is an astounding absence of a Force Majeure clause in the Contract itself. This would then lead the parties into pursuing the more general principles of Contract Law in India, i.e. the provisions of the Indian Contract Act 1872. Parties would be specifically referring to Section 32 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 and Section 56 of the Act. Section 32 of the Act in this prerogative has already been discussed in previous sections herein. Section 56 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 speaks about the frustration of a contract, wherein the contract is stated to become ‘frustrated’ due to the inability of either party to perform their functions/ obligations, after the formation of the contract. In these instances, parties would be required to meet the thresholds of Section 56 in being able to state that the occurrence of the COVID-19 Pandemic has so critically changed the situation that the basis of the bargain between the Parties itself has been upset.

Critical analysis

The Force Majeure clause as a concept has the major purpose of protecting the companies and businesses against unforeseen effects falling out of situations similar to current times. In the current instance, it would in fact be right to allow businesses and companies in binding contracts to save themselves from being sued by invoking the Force Majeure clause. In current times, with extreme restrictions on the movement of people, even within their own localities, even if not intra-country or inter-country, the inability of the parties to a contract to perform their obligations becomes increasingly possible. Protection must be accorded to the parties in these instances to prevent substantial financial harm being caused to them due to cases of violation or breach of contract being filed against them in these testing times.

However, this does not entail that a free pass is given to all parties claiming the Force Majeure clause due to the COVID-19 situation. Every contract and the situations surrounding the contracts must be comprehensively analysed. Attention must be paid to the type of obligations that are required to be performed by the party to the contract and test the effects that the COVID-19 situation would have on their performance. If there exist substantial hindrances to the performances of such obligations, then untendered support must be given to such parties, and effective solutions towards either suspending/ postponing/ cancelling obligations under the contracts so as to not harm the situations of both parties.

Conclusion

The COVID-19 and the times that we currently live in are nothing like history. In these great times of uncertainty, it is of utmost importance to protect economies, businesses and all the financial institutions of the world. A higher level of sensitivity towards issues is required, along with the lowering of thresholds of various laws. The same is true for the Force Majeure clauses of various contracts during this time. Current times warrant a different, easier, and less complicated approach towards businesses and companies that are bound towards contractual obligations. In ensuring that the thresholds of law are maintained, one must not lose sight of the imminent rebuilding of entire economies and communities after the end of the current crisis, and the utmost sensitivity that needs to be displayed both now, and then.

Author: Ajeeth Srinivas. K from School of Law, CHRIST (Deemed to be University).

Editor: Muskaan Garg from Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana.

Jumping quarantine: Legal angle

Reading time: 8-10 minutes.

In the present scenario where the country is in set to enter the 4th phase of lockdown due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, several individuals are found to be jumping quarantine and lockdown measures in the country. An act by a person or a group of people of escaping from the place of their isolation or quarantine due to them being suspected Covid-19 patients by the Government is known as quarantine jump. A realistic scenario of quarantine jump is about the 70 migrant workers who jump quarantine in Bihar.

Out of 150 migrant workers quarantined, 70 migrant workers jump quarantine Centre in Nawada district. This resulted in an emerging worry to the Government of Bihar. They were all quarantined in Aadharsh International School, Nawada district. As per the recent report, these migrants had jumped quarantine as there were not provided with proper food and lacked facilities.

Several migrants are being uncooperative with the authorities over food and other facilities. Although the government is trying to do its best to ensure the safety of all, there is a need to instill a confidence for the same amongst migrants and workers who are left without food and shelter. There is also a need to ensure that people are made aware that they should follow quarantine protocols and not violate because it would invite dangers to their own selves as well as to others in the society.

Dangers associated with jumping quarantine

The world health organization on March 2020, announced a serious health emergency. They advised to close all the international and national borders as an effective means of handling the pandemic. The Government of each state of every country ordered every individual to stay at home quarantined. The affected parties of Covid-19 were shifted to isolation wards for treatment. The parties who had a past history of abroad travel recently or those who have been in contact with Covid-19 patients were also been strictly quarantined and isolated for observation.

The Governments across the globe felt that quarantine at home, may reduce the spread of Covid-19. In spite of such a serious pandemic few people are very lethargic by jumping quarantine. Below are few of the situations and examples of dangers associated with jumping quarantine:-

  • When a person, who has been tested Covid -19 positive jumps quarantine, may come in contact with another person and such a person may come in contact with another person, by doing so the spread of this virus will increase day by day.
  • There are also cases, wherein people recover from the Covid-19 and the virus also relapses for them again. In such a case, even though they have recovered from Covid-19, at least for a month or two they much be quarantined and observed before they are being discharged.
  • In the month of March 2020, there was an Indian couple who had gone to Switzerland for their honeymoon. When they came back to India (Bengaluru), the couples were tested for Covid-19. The report said that the man was tested positive and now both the man and women were supposed to be isolated for treatment and observation. The women escaped from quarantine and roamed in Bengaluru. Due to her act, she has spread the Covid-19 virus to many people.
  • In the month of April 2020, in Dubai, there was a man who was tested positive of Covid-19 escaped from quarantine just to see his girl friend. The result of his act was the girl as well as her family were been isolated for observation. Therefore, when a person comes in contact with another person, they jeopardize the stake of many people’s health.
  • In the month of May 2020, there was a rush and social cluster among people in Chennai (Koyembedu) to buy essentials. This social cluster resulted in a greater number of Covid-19 cases in a single day.

If people keep escaping from their quarantine and not following social distancing, the number of Covid-19 cases will increase, eventually there will be a lack of doctors to treat the patients, there will be lack of places to use as wards, and the death rate will keep increasing in the world. This will also affect the economy of a country at a great level.

Legal sanctions taken against quarantine jump

Many of the citizens are not taking the lock-down very seriously. In many places, we can still witness, so many people are clustering in groups. In order to avoid this situation, the Government has imposed strict rules and regulations to be followed by the public. Any person who opposes such rules will face the consequences for their act through penalty and imprisonment. Legal sanctions taken against quarantine jump by the Government are:

  • The Epidemic Disease Act, 1897:  Section 3 of the Act throws light on the penalty that can be attracted for potential violations. As per this provision, the punishment is attracted when a person disobeys any regulation or order made under the Act. The quantum of punishment is attributed to Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
  • Indian Penal Code, 1860: Section 188 of IPC prescribes two different punishments based on the gravity of the disobedience. Firstly, if the disobedience causes or tends to cause obstruction, annoyance or injury to any person lawfully employed, then the quantum of punishment shall be simple imprisonment with a term extendable up to 1 month or a fine of an amount up to 200 rupees, or both. Secondly, Section 188 deals with the kind of disobedience that is most likely to take place during these times like disobedience which occur danger to the human life, health ,safety and cause or tends to cause riot will be punished with an imprisonment term up to 6 months or a fine up to 1,000 rupees or both.

Further, Section 269 covering negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life, Section 270 covering malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life, Section 271 covering disobedience of quarantine. The penalties for these offences are imprisonment extendable up to 6 months or fine or both , imprisonment extendable up to 2 years or fine or both and imprisonment extendable up to 6 months or fine or both, respectively.

  • The Disaster Management, 2005: Section 51 has two aspects Firstly, it is attracted by the persons who leave their homes to pursue non-essential work.
  •  Condition: Whoever, without reasonable cause (a) obstructs any officer or employer (b) refuses to comply with any direction.
  • Punishment: Imprisonment of a term upto 1 year or fine (not prescribed under the provision) or both.

Further, the latter part of Section 51, in present conditions, is attracted by persons who are tested positive for the Coronavirus but run away from quarantine.

  1. Condition: Whoever, without reasonable cause (a) obstructs any officer or employer (b) refuses to comply with any direction causing loss of lives or imminent danger thereof.
  2. Punishment: Imprisonment of a term upto 2 years.

Section 54 of the section is attracted in present conditions by persons who create or forward fake news and information through social media platforms.

  1. Condition: Whoever makes or circulates a false alarm or warning as to disaster or its severity or magnitude leading to panic.
  2. Punishment: Imprisonment of a term up to 1 year or fine (not prescribed under the provision).

Recent developments

  • The Government of India until May 12, 2020 has collected around Rs.2 crores of penalty amount from the public because of quarantine jump and few people are being imprisoned due to the quarantine jump.
  •  Due to this lock-down, our Indian economy is crashing, in order to avoid this; the Government of India has announced relaxation time from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm in order to allow people to work, provided social distancing is still maintained.
  • On May 11th, 2020, the doctors could recover most of the COVID-19 patients through a combination of Ayurvedic medicines and scientific medicines in India.
  •  On a video conference held on 11th May 2020 by the Government officials, our Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, stated that we need to now focus on two aspects. Firstly, to make sure that the Covid-19 does not spread to rural areas, secondly to focus on the growth of economy development.
  • The Government of India has decided to close International gates until June 2020.
  • The Indian railways will resume from May 12th, 2020. The passenger train service of first two trains departed from New Delhi.
  • Construction work has been resumed, on a condition of social distancing among the workers.
  • Many schools and colleges have been converted to isolation wards to treat Covid-19 patients.
  • Italy medical researchers claim to discover vaccine for Covid-19. They stated that the vaccine will be tested on human beings after summer.
  • The Union Health Minister, Harsha Vardhan on 12th may 2020, stated that India will be self-reliant in producing RT-PCR and antibody testing kits by May- end which will enable it to conduct one lakh tests a day.
  • Many of the police officers have been tested positive of Covid-19 in India. According to the recent reports, a 55 year old central reserve police force personnel died on 12th may 2020 due to corona virus infection.
  • The Health minister stated that the recovery rate improves to 23.3% on May 12th 2020.
  • The Union Government on May 12th 2020 said that the plasma therapy was still in experimental stage, there was not enough evidence yet to claim that it could be used to cure covid-19 patients.
  • On May 12th 2020, the Government of India has announced a package of Rs.20, 00,000cr to meet the crises due to Covid-19 and to boost the Indian economy.

Critical analysis

According to my observations till date, India is doing a great work of handling the Covid-19 situation. Compared to other countries, the recovery rate in our country is much higher than the other countries. Hats off to the doctors, nurses, police officials who work day and night to treat the Covid-19 patients and to regulate people from not disobeying the lock-down rules.

In spite of such a pandemic situation, the Government of India are taking effective measures in making sure that the economy does not result in a downfall. The Government makes sure that below poverty line people are not left in hunger. They provide food to homeless people and provide them with masks. The Government also manages to provide shelter to homeless people in the country. The homeless people are also tested for Covid-19.

It is very sad to say that even though the Government is taking possible measures to control the spread of Covid-19, there are people who no being very cooperative with the government. Some people are still not aware of the serious implications of quarantine jump. People who are isolated for observation and tested positive of Covid-19 must be happy that they are been treated and not left untreated by the doctors. It is high time every one of us must start appreciating the work done by the police officers, doctors and nurses rather than expecting luxury.

Conclusion

Despite all the efforts taken by the Government, there are still people out there who do not understand the seriousness of the pandemic and step outside or jump quarantine and spread the virus to other people. Even though strict rules are being regulated by law, few people are lethargic about the pandemic. Only if “self realization” is developed in the minds of the people, they would stop throwing tantrums, complaining about lack of facilities and no proper food, escaping from quarantine, not abiding by the law. India can quickly recover from such a pandemic situation.

Author: Sahanaa Sudhakar from VIT Law School (Chennai).

Editor: Priyanshu Grover from Symbiosis Law School, NOIDA, Uttar Pradesh.

Pre-litigation mediation: Legal angle

Reading time: 8-10 minutes.

Litigation is a lawsuit that is still pending or going through the court proceedings. Pre-litigation is a process for resolving the cases before the lawsuit being officially filed and court proceeding begin.  The pre-litigation process also includes mediation, which saves time and money for both the parties. Some courts have mediation department while some courts the judges may refer the parties to speak and try to settle their dispute with mediator.

Alternative Dispute Resolution includes alternative methods for helping people to resolve their legal issues before going through court proceeding. There are several Alternative Dispute Resolutions as Arbitration, Mediation, negotiation and Conciliation. There are independent third person, called a “neutral” who tries to resolve the conflict in ADR. The mediation has higher success rate, speedy and cost effective. The most practical expectation that any corporate entity would expect before entering into any contractual agreement is the legal certainty. This allows the parties to under the various rights, liabilities, terms and conditions stipulated in the contract.

Force majeure can be understood as an unforeseen and irresistible event and is applicable for any commercial contract whether international or domestic contracts, imposes the legal binding obligations on the parties and non-performing party of the contract who will be liable for damages. The commercial contract is under force majeure to refer to an irresistible compulsion or coercion that has rendered, by both parties to a contract physically unable to perform their obligation under that contract.  

COVID-19 assumed as a “force majeure” under commercial contracts because it made the performance of the obligation impossible and they cannot perform the contractual obligation under any terms.

What is mediation?

Mediation is one of the most popular form of alternative dispute resolution. Mediation is the process of dispute resolution between parties, which focuses on effective communication and negotiation skills. The third person, who help the parties to communicate and negotiate effectively, is called the mediator. Mediation is being used in almost every conceivable type of dispute, as focused in resolving the problem quickly and effectively. Every mechanism of ADR have their principle, mediation have its fundamental role, to resolve the dispute between the parties with their mutual consensus. It tries to reach the mutual satisfactory agreement without going to the court. Mediation do not involve any partiality, have the confidentiality between the parties, and most important, the presence of agreement between the parties.

To fully understand the meaning of mediation, it is imperative to distinguish it from conciliation. Though often used as synonymous and interchangeable terms, the definition and interpretation of Mediation and Conciliation in India has highlighted the differences in the two practices. In contrast to a conciliator who adopts a pro-active role, a mediator adopts the role of a facilitator by encouraging parties to define the problems, find solutions for themselves while endorsing and supporting the parties’ efforts in doing so.

Framework of mediation in India

The framework of mediation in India can be divided into two broad categories – statutory mediation and mediation by court order. Following are the statutory provisions that provide for mediation are:

  • Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996
  • Commercial Courts Act, 2015 read with Commercial Courts (Pre-Institution Mediation and Settlement) Rules, 2018
  • Companies Act, 2013 read with the Companies (Mediation and Conciliation) Rules, 2016
  • Consumer Protection Act, 2019
  • Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
  • Industrial Disputes Act, 1947
  • Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Development Act, 2006
  • Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016
  • Special Marriages Act, 1954

In addition to the above-mentioned statutes, under Section 89(1)(d) of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908, judges can also refer cases to mediation. Furthermore, High Courts have the power to formulate rules for mediation proceedings under the rulemaking power provided under Part-X read with Section 89(2)(d) of the Code.

It’s advantage over litigation

There are several ways to resolve the legal dispute with another party. It’s just the option the parties choose to settle their legal issues. The choice of mediation over litigation is that it minimizes the stress and lesser expensive. Rather than fighting for years and burning the money on dates, it better to move with mediation, with mutual understanding and satisfaction, case can be resolved.

The advantages of mediation over litigation are:

  • Confidential: In case of litigation, everything is public with records and evidences. All filled document can be, accessed easily at any time. In case of mediation, the cases are confidential, there is no transit and records, any evidence introduced during mediation cannot be, revealed or accessed later.
  • Affordable: In traditional lawsuit, it is time consuming along with money. The hiring of lawyers is much expensive and dates on dates for periods, make it even more expensive. In mediation, its a quicker way to resolve the case, the mediators are cheaper than the lawyer. They take shorter period to resolve and finalize the issue.
  • Quicker: In case of lawsuit, it takes months and years to resolve the dispute. Its time consuming and money too. In mediation, it takes a day or weeks or hardly a month, in case of complex case issue. Th process values time and money of the parties to the case.
  • Greater flexibility and control: In case of litigation, the case goes for court proceeding only the judge or the jury have the control over the outcome. The parties have lesser power to justify themselves. The judgement, have to be accepted by the parties. In mediation, parties are, asked to communicate and solve in case of any misunderstanding. Mediation is all about communicating and negotiating effectively. The outcome cannot be final in mediation, parties can even deny from acceptance.
  • Preserves relationship: One of the most overlooked benefit of mediation is it preserves relationship. In several years of ongoing lawsuits can destroy the relationships. Mediation is more like collaborative process rather than adversarial process. In mediation, no one wins or loss. There is mutual satisfactory agreement is made.
  • Less formal: The court proceedings are much burdened with rules and procedures, whereas, in mediation the informality, allows the parties to interact and engage easily. The mediator directly focuses on case and provide with all required attention to the parties.

Doctrine of Force Majeure W.R.T. COVID-19

The world is currently experiencing an influenza pandemic and fighting against to curb the spread of COVID-19. The effect of COVID-19, raised to an extent of lockdown. It affected not only the social economic life but also commercial sectors. The lockdown and the restriction imposed have brought business to stake. In such an unexpected scenario, when major sector are getting clogged, it become necessary to relook all existing contractual agreements, so that certain remedies can be obtained, to avoid the breaches and damages that might be suffered.

Force Majeure event refers to occurrence of an unforeseeable circumstances, which is outside the reasonable control of the party and which prevent the party to perform its obligation under the contract. The force majeure is an expressed term and cannot be relied over implied into a contract.

The elements of force majeure are:

  1. The event must be outside the reasonable control of the affected party
  2. The party’s ability to perform their obligation under the contract have been hindered.
  3. The affected party has taken all the reasonable measures to avoid such event and consequences.

The Ministry of Finance and Corporate Affairs addressed this doubt and clarified that the disturbance in the supply chain due to COVID-19, now will be considered as a natural calamity and the Force Majeure clause can be invoked. Force majeure event is an excuse available for the provisions under commercial contracts, for non-performance of the obligation. In case of absence of such provision as force majeure, which raise the issue of impossibility and illegality in the performance of contract is, then ruled by the doctrine of frustration under section 56 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872. Under the plea of force majeure or frustration of contract, the affected party get exempted from performance of its obligation present under the expressed contract, without being liable for any kind of breach or damages.

Commercial contract defines force majeure event as an event, which is unpredictable and beyond reasonable control of parties to the contract. As per contract conditions, favorable force majeure, which clearly specify about any event which affects the delays in supply and shortage of products. In some contract, it expressly excludes events that have such an effect.

There are certain terms under contract that broadens the definition of force majeure. The term like ‘governmental action’ or ‘act of god’ which capture COVID-19. As per contract terms that look out for are ‘epidemic’, ‘pandemic’ or other health related events, which also provide certain relief from obligation under contract.

Critical analysis

In a civilized society, there are two set of law governs-

  1. Substantial laws- it determines the rights and obligations of citizen, and
  2. Procedural laws- it provides for the framework for enforcement.

There are sufficient legislations framed for safeguarding the rights of the individual under any subject. The problem lies with the delay in judgement, it takes months and years to provide judgement over cases. Court proceedings consume time and money. The judgement provided have a binding affect over the parties, which cannot be overruled. It also destroys the relationship due to ongoing lawsuits. There are other reasons too, because of which commercial and other issues were not tried to be resolved through alternation dispute resolution process as negotiation, mediation, conciliation and arbitration.

Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanism, was framed with the purpose of reducing the burden of the court. The mediation is a model of alternative dispute resolution. Mediation is the dispute resolution process, which provide speedy judgement, affordable, flexible, less formal and most important, it preserves relationships. Mediation is chosen also for resolution of dispute under commercial sector. There has been a growing interest in the field of employer-employee relations in recent year, driven largely by Advisory Conciliation and Arbitrary Services sponsorship, in the process of alternative dispute resolution, and specifically the use of mediation, in seeking to resolve disputes in the workplace.

The Courts in India have provided a narrow interpretation of force majeure in respect of commercial understanding between the parties under the contractual obligation. It depends on the condition of the contract, if contract includes the pandemic, epidemic, natural calamities, act of god, governmental action as lockdown or any restriction imposed, then that all will be within the meaning of force majeure. Basically, this COVID-19, falls under the ambit of force majeure.

In Md. Serajuddin v. State of Orissa, the court held that the words “any other happening” must be given Ejusdem generis construction so as to cover only such fold which emphasizes upon the happening and eventualities which are of the nature and type.

The rule of ejusdem generis is that where the particular words pertaining to a class, category or gene are followed by general words. In short, the general word is followed by the specific word. In case of COVID-19, it falls within the ambit of force majeure provision, which differs from case to case.

In Satyabrata Ghose v. Mugneeram Bangur and co. and Ors, the Supreme Court held that the principle of frustration of contract will not be applicable on the Indian Contract Act. The performance of contract has not become impossible. There was no time limitation was imposed in the contract for the completion of the roads and drains. The delay caused in the performance due to the requisition would not be so great and of such a character as to totally upset the basis of the bargain and commercial object that the parties had in view. The order of requisition did not affect the fundamental basis upon which the agreement rested.

In Dhanrajamal Gobindram v. Shamji Kalidas and Co., the Supreme Court held that there is difference between Force Majeure and Act of God, the economic problem as insufficient fund will not be included under force majeure.

Force majeure event are the unpredictable and unforeseen event, outside the reasonable control of the party. This is an excuse to avoid the contractual obligation under the agreement of the parties. In regard of COVID-19, it is one of the unpredictable circumstances, so the application of force majeure must be there because, there is no possible condition to perform the contractual obligation by the parties.

Conclusion

Mediation is the process to resolve the conflicts between two parties through mutual satisfactory agreement. The mediator focuses mainly on effective communication and negotiation skills. Mediation is chosen over litigation as it has more advantages as compared to litigation. Mediation as compared to the traditional legal proceedings, it is affordable, speedy trial, confidentiality, flexible, less formal and preserves the relationship between the parties. Due to the more advantages of mediation, parties try to resolve the dispute outside the court rather than going through the complex legal proceedings inside the court.

Therefore, as Joseph Grynbaum, a distinguished mediator, said “An ounce of mediation is equal to a pound of arbitration and a ton of litigation”, it cannot be denied that mediation as a means of dispute resolution offers several appealing advantages over adversarial litigation including cost and time-efficiency. Therefore, despite the legislative shortcomings, mediation has become increasingly relevant in these unprecedented times of commercial turmoil as corporates navigate through contractual disputes while attempting to avoid a financial crisis.

Authors: Priyanshi Rastogi from Symbiosis Law School, NOIDA and Aishwarya Singh from SRM School of Law, SRM Institute of Science and Technology.

Editor: Priyanshu Grover from Symbiosis Law School, NOIDA, Uttar Pradesh.

Online sale of liquor: Legal angle

Reading time: 8-10 minutes.

An unmanageable crowd in serpentine queues thudded the alcohol vends all over the country when it opened for the first time since the announcement of the 1st phase of lockdown due to pandemic, the novel Coronavirus.

The Government was heavily criticized by the whistle blowers over its decision of re-opening of countable alcohol shops. Nevertheless, what was evident was the roaring business and the boost in the economy of the country because of tipplers, that is, the massive money that the sales of alcohol brought in. The Delhi government had announced 70% hike in the prices of alcohol as ‘special corona fee’, yet people could be spotted in kilometres of queues jostling and pushing to buy their favourite drink even in the harsh heat of May. Hundreds of people, outside the alcohol shops which had their shutters opened, lined up violating every ounce of the rules of social distancing which they had been maintaining from months. Without proper gloves, masks and the ‘do gaz’ distance between them, people thronged in the shops after the long alcohol abstinence, creating a situation similar to that of a riot. There was a drastic imbalance brought in the norms of social distancing even after the announcement of prosecution under the Disaster Management Act and the Indian Penal Code.

The honorable Supreme Court of India (SC) led by a bench of Justices B R Gavai, Ashok Bhushan and Sanjay Kishan Kaul via video conferencing, dismissed the petition of Mr Guruswamy Nataraj, through his counsel Sai Deepak and Anindita Mitra, against the May 1 circular of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which allowed the sale of liquor during the period of lockdown due to the spread of COVID 19 through direct contact. The SC directed states to use their discretion for the online sale of alcohol or home delivery services of the same to improve social distancing and encourage no- direct contact.

Reasons behind this development

Most of the governments all over the world view liquor as a basic thing, as much as food or medication. All things considered, individuals like it, need to drink it and reserve an option to do such. In any case, the ethical strain in Indian governmental issues went to the fore. Thus, all liquor deals were halted after the 1st lockdown announcement. After five weeks, when the exchequer was close to crumbling and its coffers unfilled, the administration altered its perspective. The sale of liquor was allowed on limited shops. However, the shattering of social distancing rules led the government to ponder over the opinions of two main organisation the International Spirits and Wines Association of India (ISWAI) and Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies. In the words of Amrit Kiran Singh, the chairman of ISWAI, it was important for the country to start the sale of the alcohol with social distancing. Alcohol sales solely generated around 25% of the state revenue but due to the jamming in the revenues from oil and GST, it might rise to 40%. Therefore, it is crucial to start the sale of alcohol online as well as for home delivery.

The court considered the petition by Mr. Nataraj which had all the valid points argued, relating the drastic crippling down of the norms of social distancing. The curve of the pandemic had flattened due to early lockdown announcement but the abrupt and mismanagement observed at the alcohol vends led to an unexpected increase in the number of positive cases of coronavirus thorough out the country. Clarificatory guidelines were sought by the petitioner over this issue for the protection of the interest of common people. Therefore, the SC ordered that it must be the decision of the states to decide the modus operandi of implementation of the suggestions of online sale and home delivery of liquor and alcoholic beverages.

Moving forward, the following developments are expected to result out of the current progress:-

B2B opportunities for selling alcoholic beverages online  

B2C customers are not the only one’s shopping for wine, beer, or liquor. The bigger opportunity in e-commerce is with wine and spirit manufacturers, distributors, and wholesalers. But since these businesses work with each other in a B2B relationship, the path to purchase significantly differs from those of B2C customers. Buying in bulk through negotiated contracts is one of the key distinctions between B2C vs B2B. This means managing multiple price lists, enabling quoting capabilities, and creating a personalized buying experience will be critical when selling online. These requirements call for a platform built from the ground up to address B2B eCommerce. To further showcase the opportunity in B2B wine & spirits sales, an alcohol delivery service Drizly found their corporate clients spend 300% more than consumers.

Generate money

States across the country are dealing with the pandemic in different ways, but the one common ask they all have is money. In the absence of economic activity, the states will have to borrow at high-interest rates, which is not feasible. Through the online sale of liquor, the government can generate money.

Revenue earner

Usually, the seized bottles are destroyed, but the excise department thinks selling them could be a revenue earner for the state government. The excise intelligence bureau is engaged in regular intelligence gathering about the violation of the excise laws and frequently carries out raids and seizes liquor found in circulation without conforming to the excise laws.
The evasion of stamp duty places a drain on the annual revenue of the excise department, thus on the revenue of the Delhi government. To make up for some of the revenue loss, the excise department thought of the idea of selling the seized liquor. Only foreign liquor and Indian-made foreign liquor will be put up for sale, not country liquor.

Proposed sale and execution

A committee will be set up by the excise and it is to draw up plans about everything related to the execution of this proposal. These include plans for the storage of the seized liquor, development of a model for the distribution of the liquor for sale for the general public and formulating a method to fix the price of the liquor being put up for sale.
The bottles are likely to be sold at discounted rates because people might not be amenable to purchasing a seized bottle of a particular brand at the market rate.

Legal provisions relating to the issue

The Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India contains State list which includes the subject of alcohol. This implies that every state of the country is exclusively responsible for the rules to be made for sale, manufacture and marketing of liquor and alcoholic beverages within its territorial boundaries. Each state has its own Excise Department that keeps vigilance over the sale, manufacture, import, export and transport of intoxicating substances and drugs, collection of revenue from all these sources. Some states like Gujarat, Bihar, etc. consider the sale of liquor to be illegal. However, there is a general process for the issuance of the license which involves:

  1. The type of license required
  2. The person applying for the license needs to be aware of the state’s rules relating to liquor.
  3. Classify whether there is a need for an on-license, that requires sale and consumption from the same premises, or an off-license, that allows sale from one place and consumption can be anywhere off the premises.
  4. In some states, deciding the class of license is important, that is, one needs to decide whether a restaurant, a tavern or a beer and wine license is required.
  5. The process of application
  6. Be quick in starting the process of application for the license because it might take longer as the process is cumbersome and slow.
  7. One needs to be aware of the cost that might be incurred during the whole process.
  8. With a proper outline of the business that will be run, it is necessary to fill all the forms and required documents.
  9. The application for sale of liquor is open to any public objections that might be raised by locals of the area, therefore, one needs to be ready to stand up to defend his proposal.
  10. Once acquired the liquor license is needed to be maintained and renewed from time to time.

Throughout the years, numerous new web-businesses have attempted to wander into the online deal and conveyance of liquor. Nonetheless, these endeavours were impeded by state excise offices referring to laws that vary from state to state. The online sale of liquor is heavily regulated in the country. Now that the SC has left to the states to decide whether there should be online sales or not, many states like Delhi and Maharashtra have finally claimed that they agree on the same. Delhi has opted for a unique e-token system while Maharashtra is to start the same. With no specific provisions over this subject, in the wake of the pandemic, states are allowing the sales online with their means and ways.

Critical analysis

On analysing the situation some experts of the economy believe that the government’s decision of absolute ban on non- essential goods was a major step towards containment of the spread of COVID- 19. While, on the other side, there are experts who believe that the government ought to have never disallowed the offer of liquor considering it to be non- essential from the very beginning of the lockdown.

There exists a logical inconsistency between our protected perspective on drinking and the basic job it plays in filling the State’s coffers. Article 47 of the Constitution requires the State “to achieve forbiddance”. This is the good, paternalistic, and illiberal objective our establishing fathers had set down. But since the income earned from each bottle guzzled is a basic segment of government reserves, balance is only an ethical heading, not law, except in Gujarat. In Delhi, for example, the expense on alcohol is 14.1% of the regional government’s anticipated income during the current year.

In any case, the paternalism that decides how we see mainstream taste held its hold. So, instead of opening all retail locations, scarcely 20% were allowed. In Delhi, just 150 shops selling alcohol out of a sum of 863 raised their shades which ensured there will be an issue. States have been losing an expected Rs 700 crore daily because of the alcohol boycott. With concurrent misfortunes on the GST front, these lost incomes can’t be anything but difficult to acknowledge. The general wellbeing contention, with five crore Indians purportedly influenced by ‘alcohol dependence’ is reportedly experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms, waiting to be hospitalized. There is additionally the dread of expansion of false alcohol. With this view, a complete restriction on liquor deals is counterproductive. Or maybe, allowing on the web and disconnected deals, with shields, might be a superior alternative.

Conclusion

Alcohol has been one of the prime causes of domestic violence, financial clutches in a family including other social and mental problems to individuals consuming it and their respective families. An abnormal polarity goes through the economy maintained by alcohol. It can neither be claimed nor be abandoned. State governments, which regularly accentuate liquor guideline with moral hints, have no issue placing liquor at the front of the line as far as need is a snapshot of emergency.  Thus, if the economy of the country is to be kept in place, liquor sale is one of the most feasible options in the hands of the centre and the state. But the fact that social distancing has to be maintained stand firm in the guidelines and procedures which are to be issued by the government as it is the only weapon that can protect the country from the wrath of the deadly COVID- 19.

Author: Saumya Srivastava from Symbiosis Law School, Noida.

Editor: Harinie.S from Symbiosis Law School Hyderabad.