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The Plight of Fundamental Rights During Lockdown: The Story in a Dilemma.

Author: Raj Dave Gujarat Law Society, Ahmedabad

In a civilized country where people have the power to rule and even express their opinions on any issues. It is unscrupulous and immoral on the factual aspect as the nation is fighting against a pandemic and also against the brutality of a father raping his daughter, death of a child thrown into the river, people facing problems of life safety and food, and also a pregnant elephant leans to death after consuming an explosive pineapple and so on.

We condemn the government for restricting our movement arguing for humanity, aren’t we so shamelessly portraying our sick mentality. Our actions are not like human beings, and blaming the hardworking authorities for restrictions on our fundamental rights is way too unscrupulous as citizens.

As citizens of a diverse country, we need to be ethical and change our outlook and deportment together to achieve a COVID-free nation. I agree with the fact that the government circumscribes our fundamental rights, but that is not unworthy on their part. Trade, commerce, education, economic crisis etc. is also an alarming issue for all. Still, if we look back to the theories of state: It is responsible for securing the rights and safeguarding them in any situation that arises out of control. The government is answerable to its citizens, and they are duty-bound to take care of the interest of people.

COVID-19 is a rampant disease worldwide where nations are striving to prevent the spread, protect and achieve a healthy Corona-free state. Thus, the government considers that humanity and the basic principle of the right to life are of prime interest and so put a prohibition on citizens to not go out of their residence and can only get the basic necessities of life.

It is well said by Grotius, “a state is a perfect society of free men united for the sake of enjoying the advantages of rights and common utility.” In my opinion, when citizens in a quasi-federal state supposed to stay behind in the four walls, it is the best fulfilment of duties by a government towards public welfare. Even if they are compelled to act beyond our laws, we should equally understand that there is no other option unless a proper lockdown. The Disaster Management Act of 2005 gives power to the center to take relevant actions to prevent the spread of any natural disease or disaster (section 35).

The question is whether the Act replaces the constitution??

No, in my apprehension, during the initial response of the pandemic across the country was regulated by state authorities by taking reasonable steps for the safety of its citizens. But if we have such welfare legislation which gives the centre, the power to act in good faith and protecting the nation from the Coronavirus outbreak which is affecting our right to health and medical care (right to life) which is the most important part of our constitution.

As an adult of such a democratic country, I believe that the government is managing the situation accurately and as responsible citizens, we need to abide by the government directions. The bare-faced mentality that our rights are restricted is preposterous because as a democracy the basic principle of international law, as well as our constitution, is humanity. At last, I would urge you all to believe in humanity and even if the government taking discretionary steps beyond the bars of law enforcement, it is more important to understand that the humanitarian aspect is ultimately helping us to fight the tough fight against the pandemic.

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