Plea to amend law to sue China in Indian courts

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 5/18/2020 12:00:39 AM

NEW DELHI, May 17: All India Bar Association chairman and senior advocate Dr Adish C Aggarwala on Sunday shot off an 8-page letter to Prime Minister Modi to issue an Ordinance to amend Section 86 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, to enable the Indian citizens to sue the government of China in the Indian courts for recovery of losses suffered due to COVID-19.
Dr Aggarwala, who has himself already moved the UN Human Rights Council for actions against China for letting loose the "bio-weapon" by meticulously executing spread of the Novel Coronavirus to cripple major countries in the world, said the framers of the law must not have stipulated the corona-induced situation a century ago when the statue was drafted.
He underlined that Section 86 of CPC is supposed to provide procedure for canvassing one's claims but in its present form cannot allow claims in the court to hold accountable those who perpetrated the crime against humanity by being responsible for the spread of the corona pandemic. He commended the government for imposing the prompt nationwide lockdown to arrest the virus spread in India, but he is seeking amendment in the law to fix liability on China as every Indian citizen is affected from different angles.
"They wish to launch a legal crusade to hold the Chinese Government accountable for its shortcomings and evil designs. One of the ways in which such accountability can be pinned is by judicial recourse for recovery of damages from the Chinese Government," Dr Aggarwala argued.
He writes: "There is convincing material to demonstrate that the spread of the pandemic is the handiwork of The People’s Republic of China. The virus is the creation of its laboratories under orders of the Govt. which is now trying to cover its tracks. The virus, developed with remarkable ability to mutate, spread and afflict, and with unprecedented rate of mortality, has been deliberately and consciously wreaked upon the world by the Govt. of China, as part of its design."
"I had been often visiting China for official purposes and am working on obtaining more specifics and collecting supporting evidence from my acquaintances. It needs to be noted that in an attempt to hide its lapses, China misled the world on several counts such as the nature of the Novel Coronavirus, its possible transmission from human to human, the rampant way in which it spreads etc."
Dr Aggarwala said India is a signatory to the UN Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and Their Property but it has not ratified it nor has it accepted in any way and therefore, India is not under obligation to exempt China or any other country from being prosecuted or sued in India for any violations. China is also a signatory to the convention but it has also not ratified it.
He said India, however, has a provision in Section 86 of CPC on Suits against foreign rulers, ambassadors and envoys and so he wants either to wholly abrogate this section or amend it to "enlist classes of suits that are permitted and that list may include suits based on torts committed by the foreign State." Another alternative suggested by him to amend the section to include suits on torts in the list of categories of suits that would be permitted.



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