Whether Judicial Service Is an Essential Service Amid COVID-19 Lockdown and other Legal Perspectives


Corona Virus (COVID 19) has engulfed the World into an exceptional disaster forcing maximum of the countries to put into effect lockdown which seems to be the only choice to control and incorporate a spread of this dreaded virus. In India also this sickness has unfolded to most parts of the country. The present instances propelled through an international health emergency has necessitated all within the justice delivery machine to look into better use of generation to make sure administration of justice even at an adverse time, bearing in mind that maintenance of law and order by using Courts is an equally important carrier for easy functioning of a state. The Courts throughout India have risen to the occasion to deal with the sudden vacuum created by way of the need for a right of way lockdown in the nation, prescribing its functioning to urgent topics on its own.

Keyword- Corona, Judiciary, Lockdown, Essential Services, Court.

Today, the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 & the Essential Services Maintenance Act, 1980 read with Order of Ministry of Home Affairs dated 24.03.2020 - are guiding us to understand, what are the 'Essential Goods' and 'Essential Services' in this wake of the unconventional epidemic, COVID-19. Pertinently, Essential Commodities Act, 1955 enlists Defence; Hospital & Dispensaries; Water; Sanitation; and offerings associated with Purchasing, Procurement, Storage, Supply, or Distribution of Food-Grains, and so on. As 'Essential Services'. Similarly, the Order of the Government molds and earmarks several categories of offerings as Essential Services and Non-Essential for the Epidemic. This listing prescribes Hospitals & Hospital Support Services, Defence, Police, Electricity, Water, Sanitation, Bank, Transport Limited to Essential Goods, or associated with Fire, Law & Order, & Emergency Services, as Essential Services. However, these classifications mentioned in the Essential Services Maintenance Act, 1980 and the Order, curiously, do now not offer Judicial Services via the Courts as an 'Essential Service'.

The doctrine of separation of powers implies that every pillar of democracy – the Executive, Legislature, and the Judiciary – perform separate features and act as separate entities. The Executive is vested with the strength to make Policy Decisions and implement Laws. The Legislature is empowered to issue enactments. The Judiciary is responsible for adjudicating disputes. The doctrine is a part of the basic structure of the Constitution of India, although it is not mainly cited in its text. Different agencies impose tests and balances upon each other but won't transgress upon every other’s features. Thus, the Judiciary have the power of Judicial Review over Executive and Legislative movement, and the Legislature evaluates the functioning of the Executive.

The State has a paramount duty for nutrition protection, the standard of dwelling, and the development of public health underneath Article 47 of the Constitution of India. The Supreme Court in Municipal Council, Ratlam Vs Vardichan, AIR 1980 SC 1622 ruled that within the workout of such energy, the judiciary has to be knowledgeable through the wider precept of access to justice. The Court depended on egalitarian values from Article 38 of the Constitution of India. Nevertheless, the Courts have the right to intrude at the ground of reasonableness and procedural preparedness earlier than enforcement through the State. In mild of the above-said, it is the experience of safety, an obligation of the Courts closer to the society, the inter-organ responsibility and pertinently, by the direction of the respective afore-noted Court directors, empowered beneath the Constitution of India vide the Rules drafted thereunder via themselves which has made the Courts drop their working, except, for urgent topics.

On another example, the Court refused to allow earlier censorship from the Government for news regarding COVID-19. Similarly, some High Courts like Rajasthan High Court issued a word to the State Government for immediate measures for the rehabilitation and meals for each daily wage earner and migrant workers. The Karnataka High Court issued guidelines to the State Government for refrainment from lathi-rate or police excesses, meals for the negative, and decongestion in the jails.The Kerala High Court directed the release of beneath-trials prisoners dealing with as much as seven years of imprisonment. Alike, in civil topics, the Karnataka High Court stayed the auction of houses with the aid of the banks until lock-down order is revoked. Similarly, the Bombay High Court ordered an advert-intervening time injunction at the sale of pledged shares. Similar guidelines and orders have been made by almost all High Courts across the country.

The Jammu & Kashmir High Court sought an in-depth account of monetary and administrative intricacies involved inside the shifting of the capital from Jammu to Srinagar (Darbar Move), amid the upcoming hazard of COVID-19 pandemic.However, Law is what Law does and the Court is not any salient sentinel but an energetic engineer of social rights. In this feel, get right of entry to Justice acquires a brand-new size and invests an extensive judicial vision resulting in 'social movement litigation'. Thus, as can be referred to, the Courts are continuing to provide and at ease justice even at the time extreme exigency in excessive pressing subjects. The Courts are operating or adapting to perform the listeningthrough e-modes to serve the society to the viable quantity.

Thus, even though the Judicial Services may not be now part of the Essential Services under the aforesaid Act or the Order, but, the continuation of the Judicial Services is essential and quint-crucial in all the emergencies, such as the prevailing epidemic. It can neither be suspended using the Government nor through the Courts itself thinking about them being so vital and inside the democratically based set up of our country.The importance of the Judiciary for being too profound at all times, and so is the inter-dependence and inter-organ obligation for the efficient running of a rustic. The Judicial Service is as a result deemed 'Essential Service' in all exigencies in a society. The wheel of Justice is deemed to keep rolling, though on a narrow road. Immediately after declaring lockdown amid the Pandemic of COVID-19 the Central Government through gazette dated 24th March 2020 raised the minimum threshold for beginning lawsuits under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (hereinafter will be called the Code) to be Rs. 1 Crore.

Not most effective, the Ministry of Finance (Department of Expenditure Procurement Policy Division) had issued a memorandum pointing out that the prevailing pandemic changed into to be dealt with as natural calamity and that clause of Force Majeure can be invoked as a result in any way considered suitable.Considering the present position, the permit of the Government may be very essential. The move will help MSMEs and will stop them from the frivolous litigation that's more frequently filed by using the Operational Creditors for the recovery of money owed which many a time does not involve an excessive amount. The present situation is no doubt a most unforeseen and unexpected and equally novel scenario which would be the maximum contingent and unexpected event, and which may not be defined in any statutes in any respect.

Insolvency Proceedings and Recovery of Corporate Debts

The COVID-19 has brought on a variety of disruptions within the industrial international. The entire lockdown has added almost the whole thing to stand still via eliminating the pity jobs of the working class and making their finances extensively low.The creative industry has bogged down, production global is witnessing the toughest time and many different degradations in trade industry but to return may additionally make the situation a little harsh. In this chaos to offer relief to MSMEs and other small-scale organizations the Finance Minister on 24 March 2020 made a very vast move via elevating the brink for filing Insolvency court cases to Rs.1 Crore from Rs.1 Lakhs.In furtherance of the same, it was additionally announced via the Ministry that the Force Majeure clause can be invoked whilst suitable as the present situation might be declared as a natural calamity.

A clause of Force Majeure

The Clause of force majeure is a clause of safety for the contracting parties in case of any failure to carry out their contractual responsibilities due to the events that are past the manipulate of human and are past foreseeability of either of the parties to the settlement along with Act of God or natural disaster, warfare or conflict-like state of affairs, labour unrest or strike, epidemics and so forth. The provision associated with force Majeure is furnished under section 32 and section56 of the Indian Contract Act.Section 32 deals with contingent contracts i.e. the one's contracts that are structured upon going onor non-taking place of activities. If the event is non-occurring then the contract turns into the void, whereas, section 56 embodies the doctrine of frustration. In the clause of force majeure there may be an exemption for the contractual parties for the overall performance of their responsibility most effective in the case of impractical and not possible occasions consisting of mentioned above and stands as an exception to the breach of settlement.

The regulation regarding force majeure is laid down via the Hon'ble Supreme Court within the case of Satyabrata Ghose v/s MugneeramBungur &Co that impossibility doesn't suggest literal impossibility to perform (like moves, business hardships, and so on.) but refers to those cases in which a supervening event beyond the contemplation and manage of the parties (just like the trade of circumstances) destroys the very foundation upon which the settlement rests, thereby rendering the contract 'impracticable' to carry out, and considerably vain given object and cause which the parties intended to acquire thru the settlement.

The Insurance Sector

The COVID-19 will go away a large impact on the Insurance Industry as it will impact the monetary outlook of the enterprise; the insurers are probable in for a tussle regarding the claims bobbing up out of the novel pandemic. The Insurance Information Institute, in its first-zone Global macro outlook, stated that COVID-19's impact on global growth and the insurance industry is possibly deeper and wider than the present-day consensus and could closing well into the 0.33 sector and past.

Commercial and Real Estate Sector

The Real Estate Sector too might no longer be able to break out from going through a hard time in advance. The big losses suffered utilizing the promoter due to halts inside the construction activities will result in rise to disputes concerning the delay in the final touch of the projects.


A stupendous rise within the pending litigation is an add on to the legal demanding situations. Due to lockdown, there might be a sizable upward push within the litigation procedure which may additionally push for a virtual listening to of the cases.


The lockdown within the triumphing situations became inevitable. Even though it's miles actual that best existence is valuable but what lies ahead is something a tough route for everyone. In this clarification from the Authorities will play a major position as we can be approximate to go into the phase of economic emergency.


Nandini Tripathy

Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad

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