Law and order are the medicine of the body politic and when the body politic gets sick the medicine must be administered
- B.R. Ambedkar
The WHO has declared the COVID-19 as pandemic. All spheres of human life have been affected as well as the judiciary. There are various challenges which are faced by the judiciary during this pandemic. Judiciary has many roles before the pandemic as well as during the pandemic. During the outbreak of COVID-19 in India various rights including the fundamental rights abrogated by the central as well as the respective state governments.
ROLE OF JUDICIARY IN PROTECTING THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS DURING COVID-19
The Indian constitution provided many fundamental rights to the citizens like fundamental rights and various other rights. These fundamental rights are provided in the part III of the Indian constitution but all these rights are not absolute in nature some times these rights got abrogated like in emergency. There are some fundamental rights which have been affected due to COVID-19 pandemic: first is the right to move freely throughout the territory of India this article is provided in part III as article 19(1) (d) but during the lockdown period in India this right has been taken away by the government to stop the virus spreading more. Second right is the article 21 which provides that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law. Right to life have been interpreted as right to life with human dignity in the case of Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India but this dignity has been compromised during the lockdown like death by walking miles without food, providing food and shelter to the needy migrants etc.
ROLE OF JUDICIARY IN PROVIDING TIMELY JUSTICE DURING COVID-19
“Justice delayed is Justice denied” when the justice is not given timely then we can say that there is injustice or the justice is denied. During this pandemic all courts are closed to stop the spreading of this virus but due to this pandemic we can not stop the justice to be given to people so all the high courts and supreme courts use a digital platform to get this rid of this problem. All hearings are done digitally through videoconferencing. This is very important and positive step taken by the judiciary to provide justice to people. But this system needs to be more accurate.
ROLE OF JUDICIARY IN COVID-19 TESTING AND PROVIDING HEALTH CARE SERVICES
We all are well aware about the importance of COVID-19 testing. The WHO i.e world health organization emphasized on more and more testing of COVID-19 and asked all the other countries to focus on testing especially in red and orange zone marked by the government. The testing helps to identify the situation of virus but in the country like India it is not that much easy to do testing where the population density is 382 per sq. km. and the chances of transmission is also more in this density. The high price of testing in the private labs made many weaker sections to avoid testing and keep their condition as a secret. But in this context the Supreme Court asked the private labs to do testing free of cost for the people which belongs to economically weaker section class. In this way judiary plays a important role in providing health care facilities to the needy.
ROLE OF JUDICIARY IN CONSTITUTIONAL MORALITY DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Judiciary plays an important role in ensuring that in any way the Constitutional Morality gets compromised by the action or in-action of the executives. During the pandemic of COVID-19 we all have seen that many actions like not very well planned lockdown in the country and in-actions like initially being lackadaisical to the migrant laborers from the side of both the Central government and State governments has resulted in compromising with the social, economical and political justice. In this context judiciary should play its role by monitoring the governments and ensuring its citizens social, political and economical rights to its citizens.
Our independent judiciary plays a important role in a vibrant democracy in protecting the rights of people. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar rightly said that “The Judiciary to a very large extent is not concerned with the executive: it is concerned with the adjudication of the rights of the Government of India and the Units as such”. We all are well aware that the framers of Indian Constitution provided so much rights and powers to the Indian judiciary to protect the rights and interests of the people. During this pandemic judiciary plays a very important role in protecting the rights of the people and providing justice to the people but this pandemic creates a situation where some of these rights are not exercised by the people.