Covid 19 or coronavirus is one of the deadliest diseases this world has ever
seen. People not only suffered physically but mentally and economically as well.
All the sectors of the world came to a halt and the legal field was no exception
to it. This article expresses how the education field and our judicial system
are affected due to constant lockdowns and curfews. The online platform was the
only method to keep the world running while minimizing the risk of disease. But
the online method was not accepted so freely by the people.
They found it hard to have a transition from offline mode to online mode. This
article talks about the challenges faced by the students, teachers, lawyers,
advocates, common people, and judges during the time of the pandemic and their
responses to it. This article also explores the responsibilities and duties
performed by the Bar Council of India and by the judiciary during the tough
times of pandemics.
The coronavirus has a very adverse situation on the whole world and the
education sector is one of the most affected sectors. Our educational and
judicial system are the areas that land in the field of being physical, in these
areas we were dealing with the situation in virtual mode amid the pandemic.
These areas have faced a lot of problems in this pandemic. In the educational
field, not only students but also the educational administration was facing
This pandemic has brought not only health issues but also financial problems.
The judiciary system was completely working in virtual mode, so they were facing
problems in hearing trials. The appearance of victims as well as of the accused
is one of the critical issues, other than this presenting evidence was also a
problem that was faced by advocates amid covid-19.
Issues & Challenges in the dispensation of legal education - Issues &
challenges that students have to face, and their responses:
COVID-19 has rapidly affected the whole world and made them face many
challenges, educational institutions are one among them, which are highly
impactable for the present as well as for the future. It is being said that due
to this outbreak we have shifted 3 years back from the current.
For the continuance of education, most institutions have started online classes
for the completion of courses. Since it was the first time for the students from
class nursery to higher education to have online classes, screening is one of
the major problems that is being faced by many students, it has been found that
due to screening many students were facing anxiety, issues related to mental
health and vision.
Also, they were not getting any practical knowledge because of a lack of
interaction. They have to put themselves in a situation where they have to adapt
to the environment of the classroom at home. So, that was a complete change of
environment because earlier they used to be within the walls of classrooms. Many
children are not accustomed to the system to join their online classes.
Due to this outbreak, students had faced not only educational problems but also
financial problems too, because many of the children's parents were hospitalized
and sadly many of them had lost their lives amid the pandemic.
Tendency of cases
- Issues & challenges that the administration has to face, and their
COVID-19 has not only affected the children's education but also affected
educational administration. They have faced many challenges because this
outbreak is also completely new for them.
The most common problem that was being faced by the administration was a
technical issue because it happened that many times the connection is lost,
it is also seen that many students have their internet quota for a day, so
due to these issues the administrative have to face problems, many students
do not have a computer, so this is also a big challenge before the
In public schools, teachers are not completely aware of the conduct of
online classes, they lack reading material or the basic knowledge of using
the technology. Sometimes happens that students have done mischievous acts
which makes teachers uncomfortable. In most countries, the educational
institution was closed to control the outbreak.
Educational administration, to provide the continuation of students'
education programs, have created individual schedules for the student who
needs special education, they are staying in touch with teachers so that
they can have analysis on what is going on.
A deputy head of schools working in a private school, states "Since we have
students with special needs each has an individual education plan. A weekly
program was prepared for our students with mild and moderate disabilities
who can study with their parents."
- Issues & challenges that teachers have to face, and their response
In the education sector, many departments are working amid pandemics. But
the most difficult task is for the teachers who are supposed to teach online
where they have only a screen to teach.
They execute the main curriculum for classes. They face many issues while
teaching students during a covid-19 pandemic. The outbreak of coronavirus
has disrupted the education sector globally. Classes have been suspended to
enforce the social distancing and educational institutions from schools to
universities have shifted to the online method of teaching and rating or
The online survey showed that teachers face issues in delivering their
lectures through the digital medium. Poor connectivity, data expenses, or
not having proper devices to deliver education digitally are also a matter
of concern for the teacher. Other than the technological issues various
barriers faced during online classes were figuring out online etiquette,
parents hovering, and maintaining decorum of the class were also major
Teachers have put a great effort into creating an appropriate environment
for handling the classes using suitable methods for content delivery and
finding different ways of estimation which have benefited the student. And
these all things can only be done when teachers make themselves durable.
- Clinical legal education during times of COVID pandemic
Education has been hard hit by the outbreak of coronavirus. The legal
sector is no exception. Legal education is an education where a person
should have to be pragmatic. "Practical training outperforms theories". This
quote by Roscoe Pound- an eminent jurist strikes the clinical nature of
education. The knowledge of the law also plays a very important role but the
main thing is about the implementation of that law. But due to the outbreak
of covid-19 all the law colleges, the legal offices, and even courts are
So, they are supposed to conduct all the administrative work through an
online mode that is not physical. In such kind of teaching-learning pedagogy
clinical learning. Law students have lost their grip on clinical papers.
While in law colleges many activities are conducted to provide practical
knowledge of law like moot courts, mock trials, trial advocacy, ADR
activities, and internships. Internships have emerged as an easy way to
understand the practical guide approach of law through Courts, Bars, law
firms, and commissions. But due to coronavirus, all these things were put on
hold. The essence of clinical education was not at all being fulfilled in
The gap that has been created between legal education and practical training
needs to be reduced. The need for technology-induced revolutionary changes
as well as innovative teaching techniques to cover a wide range of topics
was posed by the pandemic. There is a need to teach not only the domain
knowledge but also the skills associated with the profession and most
importantly the attitude required to succeed in the profession. An
E-learning platform needs to be established by legal institutions to bridge
the existing gap between theory and practice as an all-time substitute for
- The Issues & challenges that parents have to face, and their
The outbreak of Coronavirus has shaken up all families over the world. As
parents, they have also a duty to take care of their children and families.
So, they always have fear regarding the safety of their families, amid covid,
it is a big responsibility on their shoulders. On normal days they go to
their offices and can hardly spend time with their families. But now the
coin is completely flipped on its side, they have to spend the time with
their family members but only between the walls of their houses.
It is also found that if a child is suffering from any other disease apart
from covid-19. They are in dilemma about admitting their children to the
hospital because the chances of getting affected by covid-19 increases in
hospitals, although the hospital administration was taking proper
precautions. Parents are concerned about their children's education because
everything was going online so they were thinking that how the will
institution manages the classes and also how can they support their children
at home while their classes will be going on.
Many parents are facing financial issues because many of them used to work
daily, as street vendors, or employees of small businesses. We have seen
during lockdown how many parents got stuck in many cities or even in
countries so it was very difficult to manage their families. Some of them
has come to their home on foot. In most countries due to lockdown, their
income has been stopped. These are the reasons why they cannot afford the
fees, books or even internet access.
Covid Pandemic and Legal Education and Profession:
Novel coronavirus known as the Covid-19 crisis engulfed the whole world in
an unprecedented crisis which resulted in unimaginable damage and suffering
to the people. Many countries were forced to enforce lockdowns to control
and contain the spread of this deadly virus.
Many states in India were badly affected by this virus. There was inadequacy
in the medical sector and the economy was in shambles. The legal sector of
the country was on standstill. Many young as well as other lawyers faced a
lot of challenges during that period. The advocates and judges had a
transition from seeing their colleagues, friends, and clients in offices and
courtrooms to a virtual platform where they gazed into one other's dining
room. Law schools and Bar exams were in chaos.
People had to learn new technologies and aptitudes to cope with the
additional stress of earning during these tough times. Let's discuss some of
the problems faced by the advocates, Judges, and aggrieved parties during
the time of the pandemic.
- Problems faced by the advocates during the time of the Pandemic
Online Mode and New Technologies
The pandemic introduced a new mode of functioning of the judiciary i.e., a
virtual model of hearing cases. It is a platform that helps the working of
the judiciary through the means of video conferencing, e-filing, telephonic
conversations, online payment methods, etc. A two-judge bench in Krishna
Veni Nagam v. Harish Nagam held that:
'The court for the first time noted that there are too many transfer
petitions being filed in the Supreme Court. To lessen the burden on
litigants the court directed that wherever the facility of video
conferencing is available, the model should be optimally utilized'.
The virtual hearing platform proved to be an effective mode of working
during the tough times of covid. Not only the legal profession but nearly
all the professions opted for this method. Virtual Platform proved to be an
effective method yet still it had its cons. Virtual hearing or online
methods were not as effective as an offline mode is.
Many seniors as well as new lawyers faced a considerable number of problems
while dealing with the new technologies. Not being aware of the
technologies, people or law office staff were forced to carry out their work
at the home. It increased the additional work of protecting sensitive
information regarding their clients and cases. While some of the law workers
transitioned smoothly, others were facing a serious problem of backlogging
The young advocates or lawyers faced a considerable number of problems
regarding the virtual platform hearing. Being new to this field and having
less experience in the work, the new advocates and lawyers needed the
guidance of their superiors. They needed more assistance regarding the
formal and informal learning of the procedures and etiquettes, but due to
the lockdown, they were confined in the intricacies of the virtual world
without any sustenance.
Lesser Pay and unemployment
Due to lockdowns and a decline in the economy, many businesses and
professions suffered economically. The number of people working in the law
sector was removed and most of the government sector employees' salaries
were cut down. The recruitment programs of many private and governmental
companies were on halt. According to a report some of the senior lawyers of
Kerala were found to be standing in the governmental ration lines due to
lack of funding.
The competition for recruitment increased as more and more people were
getting unemployed. Many of the recent graduates were facing one of the
biggest challenges that are earning during these tough times. They had the
mindset or a common perception that if you work in one of the major
companies, your employment is secured. However, due to the economic crisis,
this common perception was fading away. Many law companies in India as well
as abroad were lowering their cost in an attempt to survive the pandemic.
- Problems faced by the Parties during the time of the pandemic Lack of
The aggrieved parties or the litigants faced a huge problem of lack of
technology. Many of the litigants who belonged to the vulnerable section of
society were bound to accept their fate until this pandemic got over.
They didn't have the means to file a case online and due to this all the
cases, which were unrecorded at the time of the pandemic piled up to be a
huge work for the judiciary. Many cases were gone unrecorded during the time
of the pandemic as the people were frightened and discouraged. This not only
reduced the credibility of the judiciary in the eyes of the people but also
hampered the mental peace of the people.
Not only the vulnerable sections but others also suffered due to the lack of
knowledge of technologies. They were finding it hard to transition from the
offline mode of work to the online mode.
The Indian Judiciary is seriously burdened with the problem of backlogging and
arrears of cases. Nearly, four crore cases are still pending in the Indian
Judiciary. This not only questions the credibility of the judiciary but also
degrades the very meaning of justice.
The number of cases that were pending before the pandemic as of February 1,
2020, was three-point six five crores. From February 1, 2020, till September 31,
2020, the Supreme Court of India saw a rise of 3.6 percent, the High court saw a
rise of 12.4 percent, and the subordinate courts saw a rise of 6.6 percent in
pending cases. The pendency of cases is one of the biggest hindrances that the
judicial justice system has to face while ensuring the delivery of justice.
Due to increasing arrears of cases the parties suffered both economically as
well as mentally.
Problems faced by the judicial officers during the pandemic
One of the most common problems that were nearly faced by everyone during the
time of the pandemic was the problem of coping with technological instruments.
The judges were finding it hard to transition from an offline mode into an
online mode. Not having any experience related to the new technologies and due
to poor digital infrastructure, the Judiciary of India was affected badly.
Cut in salaries
The judges didn't face the problems of unemployment but they did face the
problem of a fall in salary. The salaries of every governmental employee were
cut by some percent to fight the pandemic and to create a buffer of money for
supporting the medical sector and other sectors.
Overburden of work
Due to the complete lockdown and due to the problems faced in the technological
aspects, the work of the judiciary was delayed. The number of pending cases
before the Indian Judiciary was raised to nearly 19 percent . Due to this,
the number of each case was also increased among the judges of the respective
courts. The other aspect of delaying the work was that the recruits and the new
judges or the transferred judges had less experience regarding their work, due
to this the pendency of work increased.
Bar council of India and its challenges during the pandemic
The bar council of India was created on April 27, 1974, as a public charitable
trust. The bar council works towards maintaining professional standards in the
legal profession and implementing improvements in legal education.
Response of the Bar Council Towards the challenges of pandemic
Regulation of the universities
One of the works of the bar council is to regulate the universities of India.
During the pandemic, the bar council of India ensured that legal education
should not get affected. It consulted the universities on how to impart more
education while not exposing the students or the faculty members to any risk. It
proposed many provisions like online classes in each university, less emphasis
on attendance, cancellation of examinations, etc. to help the students during
the tough times of pandemic.
Appointment of Lawyers and protection of their safeguard
The recruits or upcoming lawyers faced problems with employment and placement
during the tough times of covid. The bar ensured that the legal justice system
of India should not get affected due to unemployment. It guaranteed that most of
the recruits should be employed and their talents should not go wasted or
affected during the pandemic.
Supervision over state bar councils
One of the most important tasks of the bar council was to supervise state bar
councils. It provided certain provisions for the working of the boards and
ensured that every board worked towards ensuring legal aid to everyone during
the time of the pandemic. The state bar council aided the bar council of India
in the regulation of universities and supervision of employees.
The Indian judiciary and its challenges during the time of the pandemic
One of the most important things during the time of the pandemic was the
maintenance of law and order in the country. Despite facing many challenges, the
Indian judiciary worked restlessly toward providing justice to every citizen and
adapted different methods to cope with the problems.
Response of the Judiciary during the time of the pandemic
Parameters for extremely Urgent cases
During the time of the pandemic, many courts across the countries were partially
or fully closed. Due to this the process of the court was reduced prompting the
question of which cases to be suspended and which cases should be processed. The
cases which were allowed to be processed were only urgent. The definition of
urgent cases varied from state to state and across different types of courts.
Examples of cases deemed to be urgent:
Filling the legal vacuum
- Union of India & another v. UAE Exchange Centre
- Commissioner of Customs (Port) v. M/s Steel Authority of India Ltd
- PILCOM v. CIT, West Bengal -VII
Due to the pandemic, many people lost their lives and their livelihoods. The
judicial sector of a country also faced similar problems. Many people lost their
lives and their means of income. This not only resulted in the delaying of
justice but also created the problem of a legal vacuum. The 25 High courts of
India have a combined strength of 1,098, with functioning 696, a shortfall of
402 judges according to the department of justice.
Use of IT Solutions and mechanism
IT was the only hope for mankind during the time of pandemics. All the companies
and sectors continued working only because of IT. Due to unforeseen
circumstances to completely transition onto the online mode. It took months and
months but the people of India slowly and gradually got the hang of it. After
the reopening of all sectors and fields, the Indian judiciary started working
towards the development of digital infrastructure. Video conferencing courts and
rooms were set up to help the judges, advocates, and people to get a better
understanding of it.
Right to a speedy trial during the time of the pandemic:
In a country like India, which is so vast with a large number of populations.
So, the probability of occurrence of crime increases because of the large number
of people. After any such crime, if we asked them to knock the court, they used
to say, "It will consume my time as well as money". They are not sure about
their rights and justice but they are sure that the court will consume their
So, to curb all these issues, the concept of the right to a speedy trial is
grown up. Right to a speedy trial is a concept in which the trial of cases is
done as soon as possible, to make our judicial system more efficient and
trustworthy. Every person has the right to court and right to justice, if a
person cannot afford their advocate, it is the duty of the state to provide them
a public prosecutor and it is mentioned under art. 39(A) of the constitution of
India, which talks about free legal aid services.
The right to a speedy trial is first mentioned in the document of English law,
the Magna Carta. Art. 21 states that "No person shall be deprived of his life or
personal liberty except according to the procedure laid by law". It was declared
in Katar Singh v. the State of Punjab
, that the right to a speedy trial is an
essential part of the fundamental right to life and liberty.
In Hussainara Khatoon v. Home Secretary, State of Bihar
, it was held that the
"right to a speedy trial" is a fundamental right implicit in the right of life
and personal liberty provided under The Constitution of India, article 21. In
this case writ for habeas corpus was filed in which women and children were kept
behind the bars for years awaiting trial of their offenses, even if proved would
not warrant punishment for more than a few months.
The court observed that no
procedure which does not ensure a reasonably quick trial can be regarded as
reasonable and fair. Hence ordered the Bihar government to release the undertrial prisoners on their bond.
Millions and millions of people suffered due to this pandemic all over the
world. Not only people but their works and jobs relating to different sectors or
professions also suffered. The whole world came to a halt. In these tough times,
one of the essential things was to maintain law and order in a country. Due to
the sudden announcement of the lockdowns, millions of people were traveling in
the pandemic from one place in the country to another place. In these times the
safeguarding of people's rights and the law was one of the biggest tasks that
the judiciary faced.
In this article, it has been demonstrated about the problems and challenges
faced by the Judiciary and its related people during the time of the pandemic.
It not only incorporates the challenges faced by the people (advocate, lawyer,
litigants, disputed parties, judges) but also the methods and techniques adopted
by them to tackle all those problems. The pandemic gave us a new dimension or
mode of living our lives and doing our work.
Written By: Siddhartha Makhija
- Katar Singh v. State of Punjab AIR 1994 SCC 569
- Hussainara Khatoon & Ors vs Home Secretary, State of Bihar (1979) 3 SCR
- Union of India & another v. UAE Exchange Centre, SC, 2020, (Civil Appeal
No. 9775 of 2011)
- Commissioner of Customs (Port) v. M/s Steel Authority of India Ltd
(SAIL), Civil Appeal No. 6398, 2009
- PILCOM v. CIT, West Bengal, Civil Appeal No. 5749, 2012
- Krishna Veni Nagam v. Harish Nagam, 179A/ 2013
I Siddhartha Makhija, hereby declare that all the content in this article which
is titled, "COVID -19 Pandemic and Legal Education & Profession" is unpublished
and uncopied. To the best of my understanding, this article is free from any