Access to Justice During Covid-19


Access to Justice During Covid-19

The novel coronavirus or COVID-19 has wreaked havoc across the world since late 2019. Its transmission has impacted millions in more than 200 countries, effecting their economic, physical and social realities. In March 2020, the World Health Organisation declared it a global pandemic.

This infectious diseases - to which there is no known vaccine or antidote - has thrown unprecedented challenges to national and international governance systems. The response to contain it has been accompanied by crackdowns to enforce rules, in which many have suffered, as well as increased surveillance, while basic freedoms of movement, assembly, employment, and information have been put on hold. Much of these restrictions are understandable at a time when there is a crisis of survival.  Yet the lockdowns have disproportionately adversely affected those who are already the most vulnerable. The role of criminal justice institutions, as enforcers and overseers of many of the measures to tackle the pandemic, thus become crucial.

CHRI's work is geared towards ensuring that the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially by criminal justice institutions is human rights compliant. This section is a repository of this work.



Shift Varavara Rao to COVID-19 hospital, NHRC tells Maharashtra, (The Hindu ) July 17, 2020

Packed jails amid Covid-19 a blot on justice system: CHRI Sr Advisor,  (Business Standard) July 13, 2020

NHRC sets up panel to assess Covid-19 impact on human rights, (Deccan Herald) July 05, 2020

Covid-19 spread in jails lays bare systemic flaws (Tribune india)  June 24, 2020

Covid-19 spread in jails lays bare systemic flaws, (Tribune India) Jun 22, 2020

Parole to under trials, prisoners will help maintain social distancing: National webinar on COVID-19 preparations in jails,  (free press journal)  June 21, 2020

Assault, threats and inaction: Police brutality is on the rise in Madhya Pradesh (News Laundry) June 20, 2020

Govt appoints nodal officer to disseminate district-wise details of COVID-19 facilities, (One India) June 15, 2020

Spike in public trust offers room to reimagine people-police compact (Indian Express) June 15, 2020

NHRC Seeks Report From 8 States on 15 Deaths Due to Police Excesses in Lockdown (The Wire) June 10, 2020

NHRC seeks reports from 8 States on 15 deaths after police action (The Hindu) June 09, 2020

Covid-19: Ensure prisons do not turn into a fertile ground for the virus (Hindustan Times) June 06, 2020

Explained: Freeing prisoners in emergency  (The Indian Express)May 15, 2020

Coronavirus lockdown: The freed prisoner who is unable to return home (BBC) May 11, 2020

Expedite urgent matters: Central Information Commission to state bodies (Economic Times) May 01, 2020

Sanjoy Hazarika sheds light on ‘new normal’ (Tribune India) April 29, 2020

Is 'temporary' release of prisoners enough to halt spread of COVID-19? ( Apr 08, 2020

PM Cares and PMNRF Both Opaque in Same Way, Documents Show ( Apr 08, 2020

Human rights activists write to NHRC on police excesses (The Hindu)  April 5, 2020

Take strict action against harassers on Northeast people: CHRI tells PM Modi (The North East Today) Mar 29, 2020

COVID-19: CHRI concerned over north-easterners’ discrimination (North East Now) Mar 29, 2020

CHRI calls for strong action against acts of discrimination (Morung Express) Mar 29, 2020

Virus scare: Parole, bail for 3000 in Bengal (Telegraph India) Mar 29, 2020

COVID-19: Overcrowded Jails to Release Prisoners On Parole, But This May Just Kick The Can (India Spend)  Mar 25, 2020

Letters and Submissions

Requesting Commonwealth States to commit to equitable access and distribution of the impending COVID-19 vaccine Nov 30, 2020

CHRI Petitions NHRC to investigate 15 deaths following alleged police excesses during COVID-19 lockdown  May 20, 2020

Ministry to Social Justice and Empowerment directs the education Ministry to review the accessibility of online education for students with disabilities during lockdown after Javed Abidi Foundation's webinar with CHRI and other intervention

Letter to PMO by Javed Abidi Foundation on challenges faced by individuals with different disabilities during the pandemic and possible interventions. Here is the note on Points for Urgent Consideration.

NITI Aayog Responds to CHRI’s Letter on Opening Healthcare Facilities for Non-Covid Patients (April 22, 2020)

On arbitrary arrests of two scholars from Jamia Milia Islamia (To National Human Rights Commission, April 20, 2020)

On arbitrary arrests of two scholars from Jamia Milia Islamia (To Delhi Minorities Commission, April 20, 2020)

On opening health care facilities for non-COVID patients (To Mr. Amitabh Kant NITI Aayog, April 19, 2020)

On opening health care facilities for non-COVID patients (To Dr. V. K. Paul, Member, NITI Aayog, April 19, 2020)

On opening health care facilities for non-COVID patients (To Mr. Amarjeet Sinha, Prime Minister’s Office, April 19, 2020)

On opening health care facilities for non-COVID patients (To Mr. Amit Khare Ministry of Human Resource Development, April 19, 2020)

On opening health care facilities for non-COVID patients (To Mr. Ravi Mital Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, April 19, 2020)

On opening health care facilities for non-COVID patients (To Ms. Vandana Gugnani, Ministry Of Health NITI Aayog, April 19, 2020)

Public Engagement

Blog post by Venkatesh Nayak on Union Health Ministry appoints Nodal Officer to collect and publish country-wide COVID Hospitals List in compliance with CIC's recent Advisory

Blog post by Venkatesh Nayak on CIC issues advisory to the Health Ministry to publish a comprehensive list of designated COVID healthcare facilities across India- RTI Impact

Blog post by Venkatesh Nayak on RTI Reveals CPIO Of Chief Labour Commissioner's Office has no Data About Stranded Migrant Workers Despite April 2020 Enumeration Circular 

Blog post by Venkatesh Nayak on Inactive State Information Commissions and CHRI's Rapid Telephone Survey findings

CHRI Staff, Madhurima Dhanuka  on the Webinar- Justice during a pandemic : Legal empowerment crisis

CHRI Staff, Venkatesh Nayak  on the Webinar - Taking Stock of Disability Rights Advocacy in India & Steps Ahead

News Media

COVID-19: Justice during a Pandemic (

Combating Coronavirus in Small States: Leaving No One Behind – International Frameworks and the Threat to ESC Rights in SIDS (Island Rights)

India’s coronavirus lockdown is bringing out the worst in its police force (Quartz India)

How Far Should Police Go in Enforcing Coronavirus Lockdowns? ( New York Times)

India: Police under fire for using violence to enforce coronavirus lockdown (

UN rights chief urges quick action by governments to prevent devastating impact of COVID-19 in places of detention (

Preventing COVID-19 outbreak in prisons: a challenging but essential task for authorities (

Political prisoners should be among first released in pandemic response, says UN rights chief (

Preparedness, prevention and control of COVID-19 in prisons and other places of detention (