IS CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC AN ACT OF GOD?
We all know that the world is diminishing day by day because of this pandemic called Corona virus (COVID-19) and for which we humans are only liable, today the whole world is fighting with this virus and it is being blamed that it is the curse we got from the god. We all have always disrespected the nature in some or the other way, we harmed our mother earth by cutting trees, burning forests, by polluting the rivers and this list is never ending.
Corona virus is reaching its peak level day by day and for finishing this dangerous pandemic, each and every country of this world is trying to make the vaccine which can finish this pandemic forever and can save many lives. We should actually thank god for this pandemic for giving us a chance to cure our mother earth. The legal aspect would also be discussed ahead which includes the implications of this virus as a Force Majeure clause.
Let us know about Corona virus?
The Corona virus has become a huge infectious virus. The people who are affected by this experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover with requiring special treatment. Aged people or we can say senior citizens, and those with underlying medical problems such as: - Cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.
The Virus spreads mainly through the droplets of Saliva or it can also be discharged from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes. So, it is important to cover the mouth as well as to take hygiene precautions.
There was a time when people use to keep birds in cage, but now the things are reversing, now we humans are locked inside the cage (our homes) and the birds whom we used to lock in cage are flying freely in the sky without any fear, this is what we call God’s game (Karma). Mainly, the occurrence of this pandemic can mean a warning from God that be thankful for what we all have in our lives.
The chain of this type of pandemics is continuing in the world where the earlier pandemics which came were not that much worst as this one and was not as fast as COVID-19 is, which is day by day becoming uncontrollable. Natural disasters such as tsunami, earthquake, floods are usually beyond the reach of the humans, such type of acts are also called Act of God, which is also known as Force Majeure. It is a type of clause which is being mentioned in the Contract Law. It mainly gives a type of relaxation from any type of Liability or obligation whenever events like riots, epidemic or any other act like act of God, restriction of any Government or of another authority or any other circumstance beyond anticipation of control of the company, the performance of the contract with prior approval of IRDA of India shall be wholly or partially suspended during the continuance of the Force Majeure’s event and the company will resume the contract's terms and conditions when the scenario gets back to normal.
The law says that in the act of God, a person gets rid of some responsibility, duty or work. The Force Majeure clause in India has been signified in Section 32 & 56 of Indian Contract Act 1872.
Section 32 of this act explains about the contingent contracts, which are the contracts based on some conditions and section 56 talks about the uncertainty of the contract. In India, Force Majeure does not includes a Pandemic clause, it only has an epidemic clause, WHO (World Health Organization) has termed COVID-19 as a pandemic which has spread all over the world and because of which, many deaths are taking place day by day.
The term Act of God or we can also say it as Force Majeure has exhibited many purposes as an applicability in the contractual context. The most important essence of these contracts are PACTA SUNT SERVAND means- Agreement must be kept, which is an absolute and a stringent rule where it is difficult for parties sometimes to perform their obligation because of some of external forces ;tsunami, earthquake, and now Corona virus is too one of those external forces. Such external forces can be termed as “Act Of God”.
COVID19 INTO LIFE INSURANCE POLICY?
Life Insurance is a type of contract which is made between an insurer and policy-maker in which the insurer guarantees the payment of a death benefit to named beneficiaries when the insured dies.
If the Anticipatory claim is beyond the expectancy of banks then in the situation, they won’t be able to pay the claim which would be difficult for both The Life Insurance Company and to the claimant who is in hurry for receiving the money, as that claim can be the source of the claimant’s survival and livelihood.
According to (IRDA) guidelines, all the Life Insurance Companies should keep at least 1.5 times of the Anticipatory claims. But if the limit goes beyond the condition, it would become uncontrollable as they won’t be able to contact them due to this pandemic, and they will wait for the time when everything gets a bit easy for them so in that case, they would deduct some amount from their claim in order to save themselves from bankruptcy.
Adani Power unsuccessfully tried to use force majeure for terminating the Contract. In 2017, the company had won the bid to supply power to the Government of Haryana. At the time, the company had assumed that the energy charges applicable and payable by the government would not escalate. However, a few years later, an increase in the price of raw coal procured from Indonesia caused Adani Power appealed to the Hon’ble Supreme Court for terminating the contract based on Force Majeure. The prices of coal in Indonesia had not been revised for 40 years prior to the submission of the tender, they argued. The court however held that the bidder, when he was submitting the tender, should be well aware of the risk of rising or of the variable cost of raw materials, and hence dismissed the plea of Force Majeure. Asthi's case reveals that a force majeure event didn’t occur just because an agreement has become financially unviable.
We would end it by saying that we humans are responsible for all that is happening around us. The killing of animals, cutting forests, and many such acts are making an impact on the world due to which these disasters are taking place (Cloud burst, floods, new diseases like corona virus) so it is our Karma, and we need to learn a lot from these things. Also, we have tried to put forth the legal aspect of this pandemic.
Authors: Kanishka, Heena Sharma & Vaishali Sharma
Pictures: who.int, neuronewsinternational.com