Human rights and fundamental rights in the era of COVID 19

Human rights and Fundamental rights in the era of COVID 19

Author: Shreya Dargad

The world-changing virus COVID-19 which is also coined as Corona Virus is shifting the whole lifestyle of people all around the globe. Its origin can be traced back in the city of Wuhan from China, which is quite controversial. COVID-19 has raised new challenges which no one ever imagined. From underdeveloped nations, developing nations to developed nations, everyone is getting trapped in this virus. We can see almost every individual suffering from some of the other problems. One of the most important losses which India faced is the loss of effectiveness of the rights cited in the Indian Constitution. The fundamental rights are those rights with help of which every citizen lives their life with pure dignity and integrity. We all have heard of the right to life which delivers basic ways to support every citizen of India to live their life with dignity. But right now the whole country is under a situation where individuals are not getting food, shelter, clothes, and water to drink. This pandemic has not only affected the health of people but also the health of our economy. Not only has this, but the right to education also been affected on a large scale.

Right now, the health of people is what is been affected and is still affecting due to this gigantic virus. According to Article 381 of the Indian, Constitution health is the responsibility of the State to secure a social order for the promotion of the welfare of the people. The duty of the state towards providing a good and healthy pollution-free environment is what Article 48A of the Indian Constitution speaks about.” Healthy life of a person” is what right to health provides, but due to this evil spread, no one is given much attention because this is not possible when we look at the numbers of the increasing patients due to this virus. Looking at the other side, the people affected by coronavirus are given much more significance. Does the uprising of coronavirus means that the other diseases have vanished.2 Other patients are been ignored and not given proper attention? This is leaving the right to health as compromised.

Speaking about the right to food and shelter, we all have witnessed the unemployment rates which have increased due to lockdown. People are been ordered to sit back home and not go out anywhere. The citizens have no work with them. People in IT sectors, working in companies, grocery stores owner, and medical stores owner are the ones who have income coming in their pockets. But what about the labours who earn on daily basis? There is no source of income for the daily wage owners leaving them with crises of food. Due to a lack of food and money, labours are migrating towards their hometowns. This has exposed the vulnerability of the right to food and shelter. They neither have food to eat nor have got shelters to live in and thus unable to live with dignity which indirectly shows that the fundamental rights are been violated and no one can help to fix that.

Coming down to the right to education, all the schools and colleges were been shut down even before the lockdown was imposed all over the country and have not been opened yet which is the necessity of time. But is this not causing harm to society and violating the right to education of people? I agree that online classes are now the new normal. But it is effective in the same way in which real face to face classes are? Students are been asked to switch off their video and audio while attending the lectures. Who knows if the student is really paying attention in the live class or is busy binge-watching some show online? Those who are poor and not in the situation of affording the internet are a major loss. They have lost contact whit the other world. Some people reside in places where the internet is not been made available or have some network issues. Online classes cannot solve such problems. Hence, the right to education has been affected like no other right due to this evil spread.

India is a country where half of the GDP is contributed by the tourism sector. I don’t need to speak about the loss that the tourism sector is been facing. Other sectors might even get some income after this pandemic stops. But people will always carry fear if traveling abroad and this directly affects the tourism sector.

Just jotting down the loss won’t help anyone. It is always better that you speak with solutions as well. Society is built up by each individual. This is not the time where you keep counting on your profit and losses. The government is trying their level best to help. But practically, it is not possible for them to reach out to every citizen who needs help. We as a part of this country have some rights and duties. Helping one won’t make you poor. Corona patients are been treated only in government hospitals. The private hospitals can be taken over for a period of time to treat COVID-19 patients. We all are well aware that enough beds are not available for the patients. This idea might help in overcoming this problem.

While speaking with my maid, she asked me if she can bring her daughter, who is 12 years old to work with her. On asking her the reason she replied that “ma’am, the income that I earn is not enough for raising my family in this situation. My kids study in government schools where they were provided with free food one time a day. But due to lockdown, they have no food to eat and my income cannot but them enough food.” This literally breaks my heart from within. Instead of letting her work in my house, I called her daughter over and asked her to study with my own kid. My kid taught her the basics and helped her wherever she faced a problem. If we all change our mentality and help the people, our country won’t have to suffer much.

We shall not forget that, all united we stand, helping each one, united will we be if we continue and walk on this saying.

1 M.P. Jain, Indian Constitutional Law, 1476

2 Ankush Gupta, “impact on constitutional rights in response to coronavirus pandemic ”

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