SC wants national plan to tackle Covid crisis

SC wants national plan to tackle Covid crisis

Supreme Court on Thursday issued notices to the Centre, states, UTs and others on issues relating to pandemic management, particularly supply of oxygen and essential drugs

Satya Prakash

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 22

Describing the Covid situation as “grim”, the Supreme Court on Thursday issued notices to the Centre, states, UTs and others on issues relating to pandemic management, particularly supply of oxygen and essential drugs.

Edit: A national plan

Suo motu notice

  • The SC has asked Centre to spell a national plan for dealing with Covid-related issues, mainly supply of oxygen and essential drugs
  • On Friday, it will hear a suo motu case related to Covid management in the country
  • The court says hearing by six different HCs on pandemic issues may create confusion

Taking suo motu cognisance of the matter, a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said, “We expect the Central Government to place before this court a national plan for dealing with the above services and supplies during the pandemic.”

The top court asked the Centre, states and UTs and the parties who had approached various high courts to explain why uniform orders could not be passed in relation to supply of oxygen and essential drugs, method and manner of vaccination, and declaration of lockdown.

“We want the power to clamp lockdown to be with states. It should not be a judicial decision,” the Bench said. Appointing senior advocate Harish Salve as amicus curiae to assist it, the Bench posted the matter for Friday.

Noting that certain degree of panic has been generated as people sought relief from high courts, it said the orders passed by them “may accelerate and prioritise the services to a certain set of people and slow down the availability of these resources to certain other groups”.

“They are exercising jurisdiction in the best interest. But it is creating confusion and diversion of resources,” it noted. The development came a day after the Delhi High Court pulled up the Centre and Delhi Government over shortage of oxygen in hospitals.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court Bar Association has filed a petition against the move to transfer all Covid-related public interest litigations (PILs) pending in high courts to the top court. According to the association, high courts appeared to be best suited to deal with the situation.

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