A lockdown is an emergency protocol that prevents people from leaving a given area and to have restricted movement. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a pandemic and pursuant to the same, the Indian Government, through the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), declared a 21 days lockdown on 24/03/2020 to take effective measures to prevent its spread across the country. The lockdown has been declared invoking the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
Everyone is bound to follow the lockdown guidelines issued by the Government (except the entities/ companies dealing in essential services and other excluded services under the guidelines). Any person/ entity found in violation of the Guidelines is liable for punishment under Sections 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 (inter alia, imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine, or with both) and Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860(imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with fine, or with both).
The Supreme Court of India and various High Courts are functioning on limited capacity and only extremely urgent matters are being entertained and the hearings are taking place through video-conferencing and other methods with adherence to social distance measures.
The Supreme Court of India has taken suo-moto cognizance of the situation arising out of Covid-19 pandemic and ordered that lawyers/litigants do not need to come physically to file such proceedings in respective Courts/Tribunals across the country including Supreme Court and that the period of limitation in all such proceedings, irrespective of the limitation prescribed under the general law or Special Laws whether condonable or not shall stand extended with effect from 15/03/2020 till further order/s to be passed by the Court. Similarly, various notifications and orders have been issued by different High Courts and Tribunals giving relaxations regarding the limitation to the litigants and stake holders.
You should have a robust remote working policy and data protection guidelines. Moreover, when confidential information is relayed by you to your employees, you come under the definition of "intermediary" under the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act) and connected Rules. Therefore, you become subject to the provisions of the IT Act and other laws pertaining to the data protection and privacy.
If you wish to collate your employees' health data, it is recommended to get them to sign a self declaration form. However, information about an employees' health is confidential information and should be stored and dispersed carefully. You should have a data protection and privacy policy in place to regulate and deal with any issues pertaining to data protection and privacy.
Here are some tips for the persons/ employees working from home to help you manage remote working:
  • Lock your computer when you leave it
  • Shut the door when you are talking
  • Be aware of the penetration of discussions on microphone rather than through a handset
  • Keep all papers secure
  • Remember that you can't discuss matters with your family any more than you ever could.
  • Use original licensed software and secured means of communication and sharing information/ documents.
You may claim relief under the doctrine of frustration or by invoking the Force Majeure clause in the agreement by showing that you have been prevented from performing your contractual obligation because of COVID-19 pandemic and consequent imposition of the lockdown.
Yes, the Ministry of Labour & Employment, Government of India has advised Employers of Public/Private establishments to not terminate employees or reduce their wages. If any worker takes leave, he should be deemed to be on duty. Further, if the place of employment is made non-operational due to Covid-19, the employees of such unit will be deemed to be on duty.
In compliance of the Government advisories and also for the well-being and safety of our Firm members, ZeusIP is strictly following the lockdown mandates and our offices are not open. However, all of our members are working from home and we are available on email and phone calls.