17 August Wednesday

Supreme Court Clarifies It Is Not Highjacking High Courts On Covid-related Cases

Web Desk (TVM)Updated: Tuesday Apr 27, 2021

New Delhi: The Supreme Court  clarified one more time that it does not intend to block High Courts from hearing Covid-related petitions,. Rather in taking up petitions on oxygen shortage, medicines, vaccine and other supplies, the SC only seeks to play a complementary role, it said adding that, the apex court cannot be a silent spectator in prevailing pandemic crisis.

“There are certain national issues to be dealt by the Supreme Court. At a time of national crisis, the Supreme Court cannot be silent spectator,” said SC.

“We are not preventing the High Courts from hearing. We are playing complementary role. If High Courts have any difficulty in dealing with issues due to territorial limitations, we will help,” said the 3-judge bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, LN Rao and Ravindra S Bihat.

Context: The Supreme Court last week decided to look into problems related to oxygen shortages, vaccines and medicines amid surges in covid infections around the country. It issued a notice to the Centre, calling for a “national plan”  and produce information about supply of oxygen, the projected need of states, the methodology adopted on requirement of states, the enhancement of critical medical accessories such as beds, availability of essential drugs including Remdesivir and Favipiravir, projected vaccine requirement and vaccine price. The top court will take up the case again on Friday.

On Friday, a bench led y outgoing Chief Justice SA Bobde was upset about criticism  by some senior lawyers who described SC’s intervention akin to highjacking the High Courts

Driving home the point, the SC today said, “It is necessary for us to clarify what is the purpose of issuing notice? The object of these proceedings is not to take over what the High Court is monitoring. High Courts have a valuable role. They are in a better position to monitor.”