High Courts are in a better position to monitor the pandemic: SC bench

Supreme court says not mute spectator

The Supreme Court of India, on Tuesday, made clear that its ‘suo motu’ proceeding on devising national policy for COVID-19 management is not meant to supplant High Court hearings. Terming the massive resurgence of COVID-19 cases a “national crisis”, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said it cannot remain a “mute spectator”.

High Courts in different states have come out with sharp criticism against the Central government and its institutions holding them accountable for the mismanagement of COVID-19. Madras High Court on Monday said The Election Commission of India officials could be charged with murder for their ignorance.

“We are playing a complementary role. If high courts have any difficulty in dealing with issues due to territorial limitations, we will help,” the court observed.

These observations in response to criticism and plea made by lawyers’ body about the observation made by apex court last Thursday.

On April 23, a Bench headed by the then CJI S.A. Bobde, who has retired, took a very strong exception to “unfair” criticism by some lawyers for “something which was not part of its order” in the suo motu case related to framing of national policy on the COVID-19 pandemic and said “this is how institution is being destroyed”.

A Bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said the high courts are in a better position to monitor the pandemic situation within their territorial boundaries and the apex court was playing a complementary role and its “intervention must be understood in the correct perspective” as there are some matters which transcend the regional boundaries, PTI reported