covid, corona, coronavirus

“A FAST CURE FOR EVERY PANDEMIC”: IS DEPENDING ON THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM THE BEST FIX


ABSTRACT

“Criminal justice is the administration of punishment to people who have committed a crime.”

The criminal justice system is a series of federal agencies and organizations. The aims of the criminal justice system include judicial punishment, the reduction of potential offences and the delivery of psychological assistance to offenders. Police, judges, and defense attorneys, the courts, and prisons are the central components of the criminal justice system. One of the key issues facing the world at the present time is that culture has taken the aid of the dissuasive aspect of the criminal justice system so seriously that only minor crimes are subject to a sentence that is perceived to be scandalous if not applied to certain factors. This very issue of a worldly problem and if present a solution other than criminal justice system will be discussed in this instant research paper.

KEYWORDS: Corona Coup, COVID-19, criminal justice, Pandemic

INTRODUCTION

Law is commonly understood as a system of rules that are created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate conduct, although its precise definition is a matter of longstanding debate. Criminal law, also known as penal law, pertains to crimes and punishment. This also governs the meaning and punishments for crimes considered to have a particularly deleterious social effect, but does not enforce moral judgement on the criminal, nor does it enforce limitations on society to prohibit individuals from committing a felony in the first place. As seen in Austin’s Theory of law, it is the command of the sovereign and is backed up by sanctions. However, this does not essentially give rise to an obligation. In civil law we see that its sources are recognized as authoritative are primarily, legislation i.e., codified in constitutions or statues passed by the government and customs. We have also known the Pigeonhole theory of Salmond in the law of Torts and the controversy of it as said by Winfield which holds a conclusion that law is very dynamic and changing with the society and the development of mankind and thus law isn’t having a one concrete definition and has an need to change with changing times.

As of March,2020 WHO said about the global outbreak of COVID-19 illness and also advised about its characteristics of a Pandemic. Thus, government throughout world started to take measures like restricting the crowd through lockdown and restricting their free movement. As seen Corona is wreaking havoc on India, which has the world’s second-largest population. India had investigated 1 lakh (0.1 million) infected individuals from COVID-19 by May 18th, 2020and the number of cases had risen to 8 lakhs by July 11th,2020.

In India, social separation and lockdown laws were implemented, but they had a negative influence on the economy, human life, and the environment. Where there was a negative impact on the economy and human life, there was a good influence on the environment. Isolation, fear, uncertainty, and economic turbulence are just a few of the concerns that COVID-19 can cause significant psychological suffering in people. In India, medical facilities faced a crucial period.

The economic slump caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has forced an estimated 85–115 million people into extreme poverty and unemployment around the world, with the number likely to rise to 150 million by 2021 — the first increase in global extreme poverty cases in 20 years. And thus, in the middle of a pandemic and facing it throughout 2020-2021, this paper discuss about outbreak and the measures taken for it’s limitation by the overview perspective of criminal justice system and if there is any other solution.

RESEARCH METHODOLGY

The present study is set in the year 2020, when the world’s governments have announced curfews and lockdowns due to a pandemic. As a result, the secondary research approach is the most acceptable method to use. This strategy allows researchers to collect a wide range of sources while staying at home, implying that Internet technology has put the entire world in the palm of your hand. Nowadays, just typing one single term into a search engine would bring up millions of results. The research benefited from the availability of secondary data on the Internet in this regard. The information gathered comes primarily from books, journals, articles, government annual reports, and the websites of numerous governmental and non-governmental institutions and organizations.

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

COVID-19 has been designated as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). As a result, massive research activities have begun since the designation of an international public health emergency. Even though vaccines are being distributed throughout the country, the lockdown and limitations persist in various sections of the country, with separate state administrations enacting different policies.
While in enforcement, it has been seen that certain people do not regard their state’s laws. As evidenced by an increase in instances of Covid -19 when people failed to wear their masks and do everything correctly, to the second wave of this fatal virus producing millions of cases per day. In this research paper few of the following laws are investigated for analysis as until recently there has been no laws for a pandemic situation in India such as Corona itself.

Whoever disobeys the quarantine order is punishable by imprisonment, fine, or both, according to Section 271 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860. And, according to Clause 269 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, this section applies to individuals who act in a negligent manner to propagate the virus. They will be sentenced to prison or fines, or both. According to Section 270 of the Indian Penal Code of 1860, this law punishes those who, although knowing that their acts potentially spread the virus, choose to do so nevertheless.

The Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897 was enacted to mobilize government resources in the event of a serious epidemic disease, not as a guideline for developing public health systems. The law’s provisions appear to be harmless. It is divided into four sections, each of which grants the government broad powers. The states have the authority to regulate severe epidemic sickness, a word that is not specified in the legislation. The government has the authority to regulate ships and boats entering or leaving India. Disobedience to the regulations is made a criminal offence, while public personnel are granted immunity for doing their duties under the law.

The punishment for defying an order validly proclaimed by a public servant is prescribed in Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, and the above-mentioned law is for those defaulters who ignore the commands of the public officials and roan around aimlessly during the lockdown.
Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) empowers the executive magistrate to impose restrictions on individuals or groups of individuals dwelling in a specified area while visiting a specific location or area. This part, which restricts to a gathering of people and so facilitates social separation, protects the most essential preventive precaution against corona.

The Essential Commodities Act of 1955, Section 3 Citizens in this time of global crises need to recognize what constitutes vital commodities and what should be avoided.Schedule 1 of the Essential Services Act contains a list of essential services that would be provided throughout the lockdown period. Because the central government has allowed the flow of essential services throughout the lockdown, it is critical that we understand what services are considered vital under the legislation.
The National Disaster Handling Guidelines, 2008, and the Disaster Management Act, 2005, both address the management of biological disasters.

Google has just released information and resources on COVID-19 and the federal system. Its main goal is to raise public knowledge of the virus’s symptoms, how to avoid yourself and your family from becoming infected, and the current medicines available to treat the disease’s sequelae.

THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

After seeing the above explanation of the criminal legal justice system and the impending crisis of the pandemic being faced by the world, we can relate how the states have relied on the host of criminal law as a response to this disaster. The whole planet is under a lockdown to overcome the deadly virus which is the largest health crisis seen by any of the recent generations. And by this action the people of disadvantaged groups are being victimized the most and suffering. Policing in the country represents a system of cattiest social control similar in magnitude to the racist social control exercised by the system.

In recent times we are seeing the involvement of the police in the caste system is abundantly evident from the composition of the prison population, which mainly consists of members of marginalized communities, which is available in reports published by the National Crimes Record Bureau (NCRB). And we also see that the death ratio of these marginalized people are far more than any other section of the society.

COVID-19 has changed not only the international economy but has affected the Indian judiciary to a great extent. Since the lock-down was instituted in March, the Indian courts have not restored to normal. During the courts’ activities, many Indian courts have taken many actions to ensure that the justice system is not ruled out even in this pandemic.

The worry is the absence of an exception to a status, code or order pandemic which generates a misconception that can be remedied only by our limited constitutional legislation or by the Supreme Court itself. In the case of a pandemic, for example, no unusual procedures for the functioning of the court and different pre-trial stages were drawn up under the Civil Procedure Code (CPC). In its recent judgement, the Apex Court underlined the necessity for social separation and offered instructions on taking a range of measures to decrease the physical presence of litigants, staff members, judges, and paralegals.

The Court also found that though the COVID-19 poses enormous challenges, it is not in any circumstances that access to justice is a constitutional right.

The Central Government was summoned to enforce the lock-down in accordance with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Act 2005 and this lockdown announced by the Central Government and approved by the NDMA pursuant to Section 6(2)I, which included the closure of government offices, commercial establishments (with certain exceptions), industrial establishments, transport services, hospitality services, places of worship, large gatherings, and so on. This also meant that those who violated the terms of the lockout would be at risk of being convicted under Sections 51 to 60 of the Act for refusing to comply with the lockdown, facing incarceration for up to two years or being fined.

In addition to this, the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, colonial law giving statutory unrestricted authority to states to deter the occurrence or propagation of an infectious is still used by various state governments. It allowed the State Government to sue those found to be in violation of the regulations enacted by the Government according to Section 188 of the IPC. The conviction under Section 188 also requires a breach of Section 144 of the CrPC’s orders, an offence punishable by up to six months’ imprisonment and a fine which is, however, subject to bail.

We can also witness the communalization which took place in this pandemic by swiftly shifting the blame of spreading the virus by the Muslims and the ignorance on the part of similar gatherings by other major communities. As said the heart-trenching condition of the migrant workers are the worst during this long prevailing pandemic and the state’s indiscriminate use of criminal law in this case has only deepened the social inequalities.

The general point is that criminal law (and incarceration) is terrible for several problems. Feminists have long debated the efficacy of the use of criminal law as a mechanism for solving the structural problems of masculinity and addressing the issue of sexual violence. Such concerns often come to the fore when resorting to criminal legislation with a view to controlling practices such as the movement of animals, the use of forestry, etc.

The Indian Constitution encourages and maintains the importance of equality in society. Different articles of the Constitution encourage the well-being of the poor and those in need of justice and care. Under Article 39(a) of the Constitution the impoverished and weaker elements of society receive free legal assistance, and justice for all is guaranteed. The clause stipulates that impairment, either economic or otherwise, should not impede access to justice and legal redress for everyone. And after a year of witnessing a pandemic, according to the current situation those who belong to the working-class community and minorities are at the brunt of the steps used by the state to combat the outbreak. If there is a question embedded in the system of injustice, there would be no greater solution than in criminal justice. Despite the eagerness to put people in unsanitary locks and overcrowded prisons, and now in provisional prisons, this will only place the working class at greater risk of becoming poisoned.

LEADER’S OR THE GOVERNMENT’S ROLE

Leaders have two equally vital obligations in each crisis i.e., to handle the present problem and to prevent it from occurring again. A good example is the Covid-19 illness. We must save lives right now while simultaneously enhancing our overall response to outbreaks. The first is more urgent, but the second has far-reaching long-term implications.

Over the next few weeks, national, state, and municipal governments, as well as public health authorities, can take efforts to slow the virus’s spread. Donor governments, for example, can assist low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in preparing for the pandemic in addition to assisting their own population. Many health systems in low- and middle-income countries are already overburdened, and a pathogen like the coronavirus can swiftly overwhelm them. And, given wealthy countries’ innate desire to put their own people first, poorer countries have less political or economic clout.

All these actions would aid in resolving the current crisis. However, greater systemic reforms are required so that we can respond more quickly and effectively when any next wave of pandemic or any other outbreak strikes. It is critical to assist LMICs in bolstering their primary health care systems. Trained health care personnel may not only administer vaccines but also monitor illness patterns, assisting early warning systems in alerting the world to impending outbreaks.

Because pandemic products are extremely high-risk investments, government support is required; this will reduce risk for pharmaceutical companies and encourage them to get in with both feet. Governments and other donors will also need to fund manufacturing facilities that can produce vaccines in a couple of weeks as a global public benefit. During normal times, these facilities can produce vaccines for routine immunization campaigns and can be swiftly reconfigured for production during a pandemic. Finally, governments will be responsible for funding the acquisition and delivery of vaccines to those who require them.
Thus, seeing the vaccination drive going on with COVEXIN, COVID-SHIELD OR SPUTNIK government in India are giving free vaccination to all above the age 18 with 25% of each dose access given to private hospitals.

NEED FOR UNDERSTANDING ONE’S OWN RESPONSIBILITY

However, what action will the judiciary take if it does not rely on criminal law while the general population ignores state orders to stay locked in and maintain social distances? It seems impossible not to rely on powers like criminal justice at times like this, but our culture has become so dependent on the criminal law system that it has become an instinctive reaction as a culture and is reflected by the state in reacting to incidents like COVID-19 and other deadly moments.
Thus, now let’s see how we as the people who are willing to go out and live a normal life can help during this tragedy and comply with the state-in-order to prevent the corona coup from spreading violently by maintaining a good faith and understanding one owns moral and ethical responsibility during such a crime.

CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTIONS

While there are several regulations linked to COVID-19, we as responsible citizens must understand that these laws are only for our benefit, and that if we recognize the gravity of the current problem, there would be no need to enact harsh laws against defaulters. Defaulters in this country are endangering not just their own lives, but the life of the entire nation. We are repeatedly urged to remain isolated, yet the police must work double shifts to catch those who do not comply. It is past time for us to treat COVID-19 as a serious matter and work with the administration to ensure that India does not become the next Italy.

COVID-19 elicited a mixed reception from India. The reaction includes a variety of laws, rules, programs, regulatory agencies, and national and state-level advice. COVID-19 regulations have been notified by Indian states under this law. Under them, state authorities are given unrestricted surveillance and use-of-force rights. While such powers are intended to be utilized for the legitimate purpose of preserving the public’s health, neither the law nor the rules implementing it define procedural safeguards against state coercion misuse.

Using Indian state examples and previous application of the regulations, it is demonstrated that states can realign their COVID-19 regulations to balance individual rights with their own power. This is critical because community trust and involvement are required for emergency public health actions. Instead of the current fragmented response structure through programs and missions, a comprehensive legal framework for epidemic preparedness and response is necessary in the future to mandate the use of such procedural best-practices. This is necessary in order for the government to be more accountable to the people. It is critical that the union government approve such legislation while allowing states to use their existing public health system.

To conclude this paper, I would just like to mention relying on the criminal justice system is somewhere necessary during these times as managing such a huge nation without it will be somewhere rather impossible but as we learnt since our childhood that excess of anything is bad thus, we should understand our responsibilities and help the state and the nation to overcome this health crisis. And we should see that in such a situation the constitutional morality should be in its place and the state should work for the good.

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AUTHOR:

SUBHANGI DAS