Citizens are very conscious of fundamental rights guaranteed by our Constitution. However, are we equally aware of our duties towards our nation, especially during a crisis?
It’s perplexing that when China is still in lockdown, work has resumed on infrastructure projects in Tibet. India must watch these developments carefully and take necessary measures.
The Hon’ble Prime Minister had appealed for ‘Janata Curfew’ on 22nd March, 2020 in the light of the spreading of Corona Virus. There was an overwhelming response and we stood together to express solidarity. Unfortunately post Janata curfew we are witnessing people coming out of the homes.
I was surprised to notice the area in Hyderabad city called Hi-tech city where most of the software professionals reside and software companies are located had a traffic jam clogged with automobiles and people were on the street.
It shows that the people have come out despite warnings by the government with regard to the spread of corona virus and the requirement of social distancing.
We have witnessed Italy and the other countries wherein there is an adverse impact of corona virus due to lack of social distancing and not heeding to the warning given by the governments.
In this context I would mention that when fundamental rights are guaranteed and the constitution equally. We ae obligated to abide by the fundamental duties contemplated under Article 51 A of the Constitution of India.
Article 51 A was incorporated in the constitution by the 42nd amendment in 1976 w.e.f., 3.1.1977. Article 51A contemplates fundamental duties i.e., various types of duties obligated to be followed by the citizens of the country.
It means every citizen has to abide by the laws and the directions issued by the state in the interest of the public. These are all constitutional obligations cast 28 upon the citizens to help promotion of spirit of patriotism and uphold unity of India.
Pursuant to the same we have expressed our solidarity when there was a call for ‘Janata Curfew’. Post Janata curfew also we still continue to have obligation towards the nation security and the health of the nation. We should not only enjoy the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution but we are obligated to adhere to the Fundamental duties.
The government has got every right to give appropriate directions in such time of calamities and we are obliged to follow the same. In case if we do not discharge our obligations in relation to our fundamental duties/ obligations contemplated under article 51 A, the State would be entitled to register cases against us under various provisions of Indian Penal Code more particularly under section 269 & 270 of IPC.
Sec.269 of IPC contemplates that whoever unlawfully or negligently does any act which is and which he knows or has a reason to believe to be, likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life shall be punished with imprisonment upto six months.
Sec.270 of IPC also contemplates that whoever malignantly does any act which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe to be, likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
The government may also invoke the Epidemic Disease Act, 1987 for better prevention of spread of dangerous epidemic diseases. The Central government may take measures as warranted and ay violation of the same constitutes an offence under Sec.188 of IPC.
Sec.188 of IPC stipulates that any disobedience of an order promulgated by a public servant is an offence and shall be punished with one month imprisonment.
In case if the State governments are unable to channelize the financial resources, in the light of the present calamity which is having enormous adverse effect on economy, the Central government may invoke Article 360 of the Constitution and impose financial emergency.
Most of our economy is dependent on small businesses and also the daily the wage earners. In the light of this total lockout of the country state has to take care of the daily wagers who lose their livelihood and it would be very difficult for them to live.
Article 360 says that if the president is satisfied that situation is arisen whereby the financial stability or credit of India or any part thereof is threatened the president may declare a financial emergency.
During the period of such proclamation the executive authority of union is empowered to give direction to any State to follow the same. Any such direction may also include a provision required the reduction of salaries allowances of all or any class or persons serving a state or union.
A provision requiring all money bills and other financial bills to be reserved for the consideration of President after they are passed by the legislature of the state. A proclamation issued under Article 360 shall remain in force for two months unless before the expiry of the period it is approved by the both the houses of the parliament.
Once approved it remains in force until revoked by the president. Till now no such financial emergency has been imposed by Article 360. Though earlier national emergency was imposed during war in the year 1975.
At present almost 80% of the major financial centres of the country have been lockdown including commercial cities such as Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad and Kolkata etc. The US dollars has the all-time highest value against the Indian currency i.e., equal to Rs.75.62. We are witnessing the increase in reported cases of corona positive.
In these circumstances there may be a necessity for the central government to take appropriate decision to invoke article 360 of the constitution or else the state governments may face severe financial crunch.
It is appropriate time for the central government to take a decision in this regard. All the citizens are obligated to heed to advice and warnings given by the state and central governments in this regard by confining themselves in the home.
It is time for us to realize the seriousness of the pandemic and follow the instructions given by the State and Central government.
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