This article is written by Vishrut Gupta, a student of Lloyd Law College. This article aims to explain to the readers about the connection between the Covid 19 on-going crisis and the rising scope application of Torts Law in today’s time.


In today’s time, if anything left to be discussed, it has to be the pandemic. The world has been struggling with the pandemic for about a year now. Some economies have recovered now, some are in their worst phase due to the loans and burdens, and some are still struggling. The second wave has added fuel to the blazing fire when the situation was asking to improve. But, it comes down to one question- “Where did it all start?” The virus leak from Wuhan’s laboratory is the origin of this pandemic. Therefore, some experts say that China should compensate for creating this whole pandemic due to their negligence. “This would include both the civil as well as a criminal offence”, says Nitsana Darsham Leitner, an Israeli Attorney. But this article would especially emphasize the civil aspects of China’s act. Torts have taken entry in this Covid crisis where the wrongdoer, i.e. Chinese are believed to be liable for the spread of this deadly virus.

How Torts is applicable

The basic definition is- “A tort is a wrong done against an individual which infringes his legal rights and duties and creates damage to that person.” The most elementary rights of every individual i.e. ‘the right to life’ and ‘right to live freely’ have been encroached due to the deadly virus, so this is a civil wrong. It has impounded everyone to their houses, brought various economies to their knees, and killed more than three million people to date. China is solely responsible for creating this wreck globally. But, can a country be sued for its actions in the court of law? It can only happen at an international level where all the countries will have to come together and file a petition in The International Court of Justice. China rightly condemns all the allegations to put on it and tries to clear its name with regards to this pandemic. No one wants to take responsibility and that’s why the Torts law is relevant here to do justice when there has been a collective loss to mankind done.

Treaties and Laws Dealing with the Epidemic Spread

Sadly, till now there is no such international treaty to address the global spread of such fatal diseases and infections like Covid. The world witnessed the SARS outbreak in 2002, unfortunately, which also was 1st identified in China. Then the question comes, since that time why there isn’t any such law in regards to the international spread of the virus. The negligence of some has resulted in the destruction and suffering of many. There is a clear infringement of Article 25 of the Human Rights Declaration which states that “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being.” 

What India and other Countries Say?

The Chinese authorities have declared that countries like India, the USA and Australia are responsible for the spread of this worldwide infection. A telephonic survey conducted by an institution in Bengaluru finds that 67% of Indians believe that China is responsible for this pandemic. It is clear that the virus came out from the wet markets of the city of Wuhan and spread out in different countries across the globe. But officially, India has not joined the other countries like the US and France to blame China for the Covid spread. India is silent and currently fighting against the virus, also there hasn’t been any evidence found against China to blame her. Although, a team from the US was sent to investigate the Wuhan lab, for finding traces of the origin of Covid. Then, China should pay compensation to some economies for causing the mass destruction. The fact of the matter is that in Torts i.e. civil cases, there is no requirement of evidence. Merely proving a civil wrong and damage will suffice. For a criminal case, strong evidence must reach the court.  

Businessmen and Torts

In other aspects where torts law is applicable is the shutdown of the whole economies and the various restrictions over trade. The businesses have suffered a huge loss, some traders even had to shut their business and sell assets for bread and butter. The continuous lockdown everywhere astonishingly resulted in the unprecedented shrink of the global economy and created recessions. Some businessmen have filed civil suits against the government for the losses in their business while some have filed for losing their family members due to poor health facilities.

Workplace Exposure and Torts

Another aspect came from the workplace exposure to the virus. It was also found that the people who were affected from their workplaces filed suits for damages. This comes under absolute liability which is a concept of torts law where the boss is responsible for the damages done to its employees at the workplaces. Last year, in the state of Pennsylvania, such a suit was filed by the estate for an employee who died of Coronavirus infection by getting affected at the workplace. We have seen the frontline workers especially doctors and nursing staff getting infected by the virus. For the sake of their devotion and commitment to their duties, they should also be given compensation. Recently, a case was seen in New Delhi, where the family members of the patient attacked the doctors and nurses because they could not save the patient and the patient died of the corona. This is a clear offence of Assault and Battery under torts for which that family should pay damages for the injuries done to the doctors.

About Present Indian Situation

If we talk about India, we have the latest incidents where the governments, High Courts and other bodies played a collective role in spreading the Covid and putting the life of billions of people at risk. The Kumbh Mela was organised where thousands of people came in contact. All the covid norms were torn apart by the government itself. Torts Law is equivalently applicable in this case also. The Legislative Assembly Elections were allowed and conducted in the states of West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the union territory of Puducherry during the second wave at its peak. This is the biggest example of selfishness and political blindness, which resulted in the sudden increase in covid cases and deaths of thousands of people. Say, we can sue and bring the government to courts also but what about the High-Courts. In the state of Uttar Pradesh, it was seen that the Allahabad High Court itself allowed the Panchayati Raj elections at the cost of the precious lives of the people. All these bodies, the government, the Courts; it is affirmative to hold them liable for the spread of the virus and the deaths of people. Not only the civil cases run over them for damages to the families, but they should also be charged with criminal offenses as their actions have made India sit on their knees.


Therefore, it is the need of the hour to start civil trials and include the Torts Law wherever the wrong has been done. Throughout this pandemic, we have seen that innocents have suffered and lost their close ones due to the negligence of some. In some countries, people have been cheated most likely due to such a stressful situation, they have paid more than justified for almost everything right from the fruits to ventilators. They should file suits considering Torts Laws and seek compensation. Better functioning of the system is required so that these situations can be avoided and the innocents cannot be exploited anymore. There is an urgent need for collective representation of all the countries in the international courts to sue the wrongdoer. The pertinent international laws and treaties need to be formed now to avoid the repetition of a similar situation in future where we are unable to bring the wrongdoer to courts due to loopholes in the system and laws.

The views expressed by the author in this article are personal

Latest Posts


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *