- SC said it cannot be a silent spectator amid issues in the country while fighting against COVID-19
- SC said it will not interfere with HCs hearing petitions
- Supreme Court last week decided to take up problems related to oxygen, vaccines, medicines.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India, on Tuesday, yet again clarified that while taking up the shortage of oxygen, medicines, vaccines and other supplies in the COVID induced crisis, it did not intend to stop High Courts from hearing petitions in several states.
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The apex court said it intended to play a complementary role and could not be a silent spectator at this time.
The Supreme Court of India said, “There are certain national issues to be dealt by the Supreme Court. At a time of national crisis, Supreme Court cannot be silent spectator.
“We are not preventing the High Courts from hearing. We are playing a complementary role, if High Courts have any difficulty in dealing with issues due to territorial limitations, we will help,” said the three-judge bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, LN Rao and Ravindra S Bhat.
Last week the SC had decided to take up the problems which are related to the distribution of oxygen, vaccines as well as medicines across the country amid rising COVID-19 cases and also issued a notice to the Centre.
Calling for a “national plan”, the SC said six High Courts across the country were hearing related petitions, however, there was confusion and diversion of resources.
Since then, the Supreme Court of India has repeatedly clarified that its intention was not to hijack the cases running in the High Courts. On Friday, a bench which was led by the outgoing Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde, was upset about criticism “by senior lawyers”.
On Tuesday, the SC also 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.”
During the hearing, the top court directed the Central Government to produce information about the supply of oxygen, the projected need of states, the methodology adopted on the requirement of states, the enhancement of critical medical requirements including beds.
The SC also asked to produce the information on steps to ensure the availability of essential drugs including Remdesivir and Favipiravir, projected vaccine requirement and vaccine prices.
The court will take up the case again on Friday.