By Sinjini Sanyal
Since long, we want to exist, not with mere animal existence, but with dignity, equality, and justice. But, does this pandemic show a great loophole in our demanding mentality? After independence, the Constitutional framework comes into light, demarcating fundamental political code, structure, procedures, power and duties of Government institutions and sets out fundamental rights, directive principles and the duties of citizens, for which the freedom fighters had to fight. But, before British rule in India, didn’t we face any threat to life? Yes, obviously. Bonded labor is one such example. Another one is the unequal distribution of wealth and many more such examples can be found which were prevailing in India from ancient period. So, the correct approach was to fight against it and get the freedom. After the extreme struggle of freedom fighters, enactment of our Constitution is a consequence of fighting for freedom.
This Pandemic is the overriding factor above everything today. This situation is really baffling and is indescribable situation points out that, we need to fight for basic necessity and not for luxuries. Yes, it is needless to say now, that, since long, as we got this weapon of ‘law’ is our hand, we perhaps embezzled it no doubt. Globalization, industrialization and liberalization took us to the extent of being unsympathetic towards other creatures. Luxury became more valuable than life. So, this pandemic explains the difference between luxuries and basic human rights.
COVID -19 Pandemic elucidates that, in the name of “right to free movement” under Article Moreover, in the name of “right to equality before law and equal protection of laws” under 19(1)(d) of the Indian Constitution, we can’t put a threat to life of other man or animal.
Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, we can’t get equal protection of laws in this situation. We can’t afford the right to religion and worship, right to education and even right to get le- gal aid for the enforcement of these rights etc. So, can we say that, these all are luxuries to human life and not the basic necessity?
So, what is the basic necessity, can be elaborated through the incidents faced by people in this Pandemic:
• Right to education and socio-economic backwardness:
Since, schools, colleges and other educational institutions are closed, online classes are the only opportunity to ensure the right to education. But, what about those, who can’t afford the distance learning tools like smart phones, computers, laptops or any kind of IT tools? So, it can be seen that, bothering about socio economic condition of a family is much more important than that of right to education. Rather, right to education is a luxurious right, when the socio-economic condition of a family is at the back footage.
• Religious rights and lack of infrastructure for treatment:
Again, right to religion, though is a mentioned and practiced fundamental right in our country, yet it is a matter of fact that, worshipping at mandir, masjid or church etc. is not more important than health facilities. In this situation, it would give us more hope to survive, when, instead of preserving the place of worship or preserving the property of deity, we could make the proper utilization of such place of worship or property of deity. Several places of worship conquer a large area, so, if it would be donated for isolation and treatment of COVID-19 patients then in this developing country would be a ray of hope, where the infrastructure for treating situations like this is insufficient. So, it can be placed in a graph and measured that, religious rights are not basic necessity to survive. So, all the riots prevailing in the country these years show us, how we are indulging our- selves in unnecessary clashes.
• Right to wages and salary and poor economic condition of the country during pandemic:
The measures taken to control the spread of COVID -19, drastically affected the economy across India due to shutting down of economic sectors. This degradation is turn affected the luxurious survival of people, who are not socially and economically backward. In this situation, they are not able to consume costly products due to unavailability of resources but, still they are surviving. So, what is more noticeable is that, most of the people don’t know the People do not know the difference of survival, depending upon the basic needs. In this situation, Government is also in a compelled situation to reduce the salary and wages of government as well as non – government employees. So, in case of reduction in income rate in this situation, they can’t move to the Court in want of the remedy for the violation of their right to proper payment for work.
The Government of India through an order dated 29.03.2020, directed that, all employers shall make payment of wages to their workers on the precise due date without any de- ductions for the period during nationwide lockdown when the commercial and business establishments are under closure. But, is it really possible for the developing country like India to maintain the before Pandemic pay scale in this economic backdrop situation? No, not at all. Rather, Government must look after all the citizens that, they must get their minimum salary or wages, necessary to continue their survival just (not mere animal existence), but not for luxurious life style maintenance. So, inference can be made in this basis that human can survive with the basic capital. As and when there is concentration of capital in the hand of particular class, it becomes difficult for the country to maintain justice.
• Reduction of crime in pandemic situation:
In this pandemic situation, the reduction of crime comes into light. While the life is at risk, the human species forget to indulge themselves in any kind of criminal activities, rather, they are taking care of themselves, so that, they, themselves do not get affected by the disease. The necessity of law decreases here.
So, it can be concluded that, there is no necessity to make laws to give effect to the luxurious life leading. Rather, if extreme attention is given towards the making of laws in order to enforce basic needs of human kind and its misuse, then the perfect solution is in the fist.
More legislation in order to differentiate between the basic human rights and luxuries is essential. Socio – economic status, right to food and shelter and such rights alike has to be interpreted carefully and should be given much priority. The judiciary must be too much effective and too much intellectual to differentiate between the facts of basic necessity and overwhelming demands of modern people and give effect to such rights only on the basis of morality and rule of natural justice.