How To Overcome The Impact Of COVID-19: A Legal Analysis
This Blog is written by Vaishnavi from Central University of South Bihar, Gaya. Edited by Ritika Sharma.
As we are facing an unprecedented global crisis, which has affected the supply chain and it also affected the economy which needs to be revived. So, this article aims to discuss the ways to overcome this economic crisis. As we are not only fighting with this pandemic but also with info-demic as fake news is also spreading in this situation through several social platforms. The issue of migrant laborers also arose due to the circulation of fake news only. Section 505 (1) of IPC and Section 66 of the Information Technology Act which states that any fraud news which is being circulated by any person is a cognizable offense and non-bailable also. But it is a challenge to implement the law related to fake news.
IS THERE ANY REQUIREMENT OF FREE PRESS AS MEDIA IS CONSIDERED TO BE the FOURTH PILLAR OF THE DEMOCRACY?
Freedom of the press is required for the authenticity of news as it will help editors to choose the right news from all the news which reaches to him. And another way to overcome fake news is that instead of fake news we must share the link of the news so that there will be no option to change anything in the original news.
HOW WILL MSME HELP IN THIS PANDEMIC?
MSME will somehow help the industries to get funding and grow as there have been many reforms in the policy by the government as the limits of the loan has been increased for many sectors.
As Rama Mam stated that the Supreme Court under Article 142 of the Indian Constitution has directed all the High Courts to frame mechanism to use technologies in this pandemic. But the problem is that many lawyers are not used to this technology to appear before the court. This pandemic has forced the courts to start e-filing process and to develop the technologies to make it reach to every corner of the country. The online hearing will fasten the process of the courts and it will also help to store the documents which can be easily accessed by judges.
The main demerit of this virtual court is that cross-examination of the evidence or witness will be affected.
HOW THIS PANDEMIC HAS AFFECTED THE CONTRACTS BETWEEN THE PARTIES?
As this situation is unexpected and it was never predicted so all the contractual obligation is not possible to fulfill by the parties, then also circumstances need to be seen to decide that whether there is the intention or not to fulfill the obligations. And justification is required to prove why certain obligation is not being fulfilled.
AS STARTUPS ARE NOT ABLE TO RAISE FUNDS IN THIS PANDEMIC, SO HOW WILL THESE STARTUPS SURVIVE POST PANDEMIC?
The government have announced many relief packages that will help startups and restructuring of startup companies needs to be done and digital activeness is also required. Many companies have bought certain modifications like alcohol manufacturing companies have started producing sanitizers, food delivering startups have started delivering essential items.
HOW CAN BUSINESS CONTRACTS BE RENEGOTIATED TO IN THIS PANDEMIC?
Parties are not having complete relief from all the obligations, but renegotiation can be done to amend the contracts according to the prevailing situation.
HOW LONG PARTIES CAN BE LEGALLY EXEMPTED FROM THE CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATION DURING AND AFTER THE PANDEMIC?
It depends on the nature of the contract and it is upon the parties to decide the mid-way so that both parties can bargain according to their own need.
All the panelist came to a general point that nobody imagined about this pandemic situation and in the contracts epidemic is generally there but the pandemic situation is new in this generation, so a problem has arose before all of us which require revisiting of the contracts and negotiating with the parties.
ARE HEARINGS THROUGH VIDEO CONFERENCING EFFECTIVE ENOUGH AND ARE THE LAWYERS COMFORTABLE WITH IT?
As Video conferencing is need for the situation and whether it is effective or not it will be cleared later on. But many senior counsels are not used to these technologies so they might face problems in this situation.
We are in the 21st century but then also we must accept that many parts of the country are not well equipped with this technology and the physical court never be replaced by this technology.
WHAT ARE THE LOOPHOLES IN THE RECENT AMENDMENTS OF INDIAN BANKRUPTCY CODE BY THE MOF BY INCREASING THE THRESHOLD OF THE DEFAULT?
The threshold will be increased according to a new notification. The loophole is that it is not cleared that notification is whether temporary one or for the pandemic and it will also affect the conclusion process between the creditors and debtors.
DO YOU FEEL THAT VIRTUAL COURT IS THE FUTURE AND WHETHER IT SHOULD BE PROMOTED AFTER THE PANDEMIC AS WELL?
Yes, it should be promoted but then also virtual court will never replace the real court, but filling, admission can be done through virtual court which will save time. So, it can be concluded that the virtual court can work along with the real court.
WHAT ARE THE STEPS TAKEN BY THE JUDICIARY TO OVERCOME THE CYBERCRIMES TAKING PLACE?
There is the only a couple of judgments but there are not any such steps as social platform refrain themselves from sharing the information under the umbrella of privacy.
DOES EXEMPT BUSINESSES FROM LABOUR LAWS DURING SUCH CRISIS IS JUST ON THE PART OF THE GOVERNMENT?
Yes, it is one-sided have companies have not been considered by the government and this matter is still pending in Supreme Court.
WHAT GROUNDS DOES THE PROMISER HAS TO SAVE HIMSELF FROM THE LIABILITY?
Genuine conditions like practical situations along with the evidence can be shown by the promiser to save himself from the liability.
SHOULD THERE BE SPECIFIC LAWS FOR FAKE NEWS IN INDIA AND IF INTRODUCED DOES IT QUESTION THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND EXPRESSION?
In the garb of privacy social sites refrain from sharing the identity of the person sharing fake news so there should be stringent laws to overcome these things.