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LEGAL AFFAIRS-19 MARCH 2020 to 11 MAY, 2020

In this present scenario wherein the lives of people are under danger due to the outbreak of coronavirus, every citizen must be informed well about our current legal affairs. 

  • In India, the EPIDEMIC DISEASES ACT, 1897, a law of colonial vintage empowers the state to take special measures including inspection of passengers, segregation of people, and other special steps for the better prevention of the spread of dangerous diseases. It was amended in 1956 to confer powers upon Central Government to prescribe regulations or impose restrictions in the whole or any parts of India to control and prevent the outbreak of hazardous diseases. 

  • Quarantine is not an alien concept or strange action and it has been invoked several times during the bizarre situations caused by cholera, smallpox, plague, and other communicable diseases in India. As per WHO guidelines, possible quarantine settings are hotels, dormitories, and well ventilated single rooms and honestly where a distance of at least one meter can be maintained from other members. But the rays of justice from courtrooms have the power to intrude in them. Of course, under the sun every object is subjected to judicial review, and quarantine orders are not exempted from it. 

  • So, this is a crucial moment for our nation but what happens when seats of legislative council of any state become vacant. On April, 9 seats became vacant in Maharashtra Legislative Council. Hence, Election Commission of India in may has issued orders to conduct biennial election for those 9 seats under article 324 of the Indian Constitution.

  • NARCOTICS DRUGS AND PSYCHOTROPIC SUBSTANCES ACT 1985, prohibits a person to manufacture, produce, cultivate, possess, purchase drugs. Under this Act, GOI can constitute NDPS consultative committee to provide advice on matters relating to administration of the Act. On 23rd April 2020, Supreme Court of India pronounced that it is the quantity of the banned drug mixture that will decide the punishment of the offender not the purity.

  • It was on last year that an Indian police officer shot dead the four men accused of the brutal gang rape of a young vet Dr. Priyanka in Hyderabad. Govt. of India on April 22nd brought in an ordinance to end violence against doctors and health care workers and according to this, persons attacking health personnel are to be sentenced to jail for 6 months to 7 years. In some cases, the workers are liable to pay penalty of Rs. 50,000 and in serious cases between Rs. 2 lakhs and 5 lakhs. This is made into concurrent lists so that states and centers as well can take action related to the ordinance. 

  • During these days the Ministry of Power has made changes to the ELECTRICITY (AMENDMENT) BILL 2020, to promote electricity generation from renewable sources. The privatization of DISCOMS has been suggested. This is being done as according to power ministry DISCOMS are losing Rs. 22,000 crores of revenue annually. The bill proposes that all state Energy Research Centre are to specify a trajectory for renewable resources This includes hydropower obligation as well. 

  • As the COVID 19 became a "notified disaster" every order passed under the DISASTER MANAGEMENT ACT 2005, applies to whole India and MHA issued guidelines for lockdown. According to the new guidelines, spitting in public places has been made punishable under section 51 of DMA 2005, and wearing masks in public spaces are mandatory. Under this section a person denying to obey the orders passed under the act is punishable.

  •   Spreading of this life taking virus also affected the Indian economy from all angles. Finance bill of the fiscal year 2020-21 was introduced and passed in Lok Sabha by finance minister Nirmala Sitaraman on March 23rd of this year. The GOI proposed to spend Rs. 30,42,230 crores in this FY 2020-21.

  • Amendments are also made in the CRIMINAL LAW (AMENDMENT) ACT 2013, also called Nirbhaya Act. It was made several changes to punishments of rape and sexual harassment accused. Also other laws such as INDIAN PENAL CODE 1860, CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 1973, and INDIAN EVIDENCE ACT 1872, were all amended. 

  • It was on the famous Kesavananda Bharati v. Union of India case that the word 'secularism' was questioned and the court decided that the basic structure of the constitution cannot be amended. Likewise, Sri Ramesh Sinha, a member of the ruling party issued a notice to the chairman to permit to move a resolution. The resolution aimed at the removal of the word 'socialism' in the constitution pointing that there weren't enough debate that took place to add the same years back.

  • Maharashtra CM Uddav Thackeray to enter the legislature. He was sworn in as the CM of Maharashtra on 28 Nov 2019, as he earned support of the majority of elected members. 

  • NATIONAL GREEN TRIBUNAL recently passed an order regarding the VIZAG GAS TRAGEDY. Under the ordinance LG Polymers where the gas leak occurred was held liable according to the principle of "Strict Liability " of 19th-century English law 

  • Supreme Court places cooperative banks under the Securitization And Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest  (SARFAESI) Act. The apex court has also ruled that cooperative banks have also come under the definition of the Banking Regulations Act 1949.

  • Uttar Pradesh Govt. passed an order to suspend labor laws in the state for 3 years to boost industrial development and also help the migrants who have returned back to the state. Labour come under concurrent list so that both state and center have right to frame their own laws and for the approval UP govt. sent ordinance to the central government.

Even in these days, our Government, medical personnel, police officers and media are working harder for the betterment of our society in general. Being rational and responsible citizen we have to cooperate with them to overcome the bottlenecks of COVID 19.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Radhika Prasad is currently studying law from Govt. Law College Calicut, Kerela  You can contact them: https://www.linkedin.com/in/radhika-prasad-a611891aa

Edited By: Swati Tolambia

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