SC cannot remain mute spectator over Covid crisis

New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it cannot be a mute spectator to the ongoing Covid crisis and its intervention should be taken into correct perspective.

The Apex Court last week took the suo moto cognizance of the Covid crisis. Several people alleged that the Top Court is interfering in the matters of High Courts as the latter was also hearing cases related to the pandemic.

“At a time of national crisis, the Supreme Court cannot be a mute spectator”, a bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat stated.

The Apex Court said the objective of the suo moto case was not to supplant the High Courts or to take over what they are doing. “The role of the Supreme Court is complementary in nature. The issues which travail state boundaries is what this court will look into and thus Article 32 jurisdiction has been assumed”, said the bench as quoted by Live Law.

“High Courts are best situated to make an assessment of ground realities in each state and find flexible solutions for the problems faced by citizens. Therefore, we see no reason or justification to interdict the High Courts.” the Bench said.

The court further said that there is still a need for the Supreme Court to intervene on certain national issues, as there might be issues relating to coordination between states.

At least 11 High Courts in the country are dealing with issues related to COVID management in their respective jurisdiction.

The bench asked for a report from the Central Government on issues related to the supply of oxygen, essential drugs and vaccine pricing and fixed the next hearing on April 30, Friday.