The world witnessed India’s plight when its public healthcare system groaned under the first couple waves of COVID-19 pandemic and lifted the veil off its ingrained incompetence. Until some specific governmental regulations were released in haste, the medical arena of the nation hung by a thread. Here, even the anecdotal and archaic Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 proved to be woefully inefficient for a country already debilitated by a pandemic. The deliberations on the same—both in the Parliament and otherwise—led to the government's announcement of enforcing a National Public Health Law.
This article primarily analyzes the flaws in the Epidemic Diseases Act and establishes why this more than a century-old blunt health law is not in consonance with the contemporary needs of the nation. Next, this article seeks to discuss potential health challenges against which India does not have the necessary legal mechanisms in place and how the draft of Public Health (Prevention, Control and Management of Epidemics, Bio-terrorism and Disasters) Act, 2017 exhibits the potential to counter them. Furthermore, this article examines the proposed structure of the new law, tests its constitutional validity, analyzes previous national health policies and laws, and discusses international covenants that focus on global cooperation via rights-based approach in Public Health Law. Lastly, in conclusion, this article attempts to find plausible suggestions and recommendations for the betterment of India’s public health policy.