Supreme Court’s move on COVID-19 cases is wrong: Congress

Congress Spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi. File Photo.  

The Supreme Court of India’s intervention in the management of COVID-19 is “wrong”, “uncalled for” and may have the “unintended effect of legitimation of the utter failure of the Central Government” in handling the pandemic, the Congress said on Friday.


Addressing a virtual press conference, senior advocate and Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said various high courts were upholding the citizens’ right to life and were providing relief to the common people.


“The Supreme Court's intervention on April 22, 2021 is totally uncalled for. Unfortunately, it is wrong, wrong and wrong. It is wrong because it is not suo motu ameliorative but a reaction to palliative high court orders. It is wrong because decentralisation, not over centralisation, — judicial, administrative and societal — is the need of the hour,” Mr. Singhvi said, reading out from a strongly worded statement.


“It is wrong because it may have the unintended effect of legitimation of the utter failure of the Central government on all fronts in its anti-Covid policies and actions... It is wrong because it in fact enhances the closed and incestuous circle of the Central government or connected/ affiliated persona and seeks to find a solution from amongst those responsible for the crisis in the first place,” the Congress leader added.


Though noted lawyer Harish Salve recused himself from accepting the role of amicus curiae to assist the court, the Congress had objected to the top court considering a non-resident Indian in the first place.


“It is unfortunate and concerning to see the crucial office of the Attorney General being undermined. Why was he, as the number one constitutionally designated officer of the court, not even called upon,” Mr. Singhvi asked.

Also read: Saving lives the bottom line, Delhi High Court tells Centre


The Congress party’s sharp response follows criticism from several senior lawyers and jurists who had questioned the Supreme Court’s intervention.


However, the Chief Justice of India (CJI), S.A. Bobde, on his last working day as CJI, rapped senior lawyers for commenting without reading his order and pointed out that the top court had not stopped high courts from hearing cases related to COVID-19 management.


However, Mr Singhvi said the party was not “criticising a person but the approach and the institutional fallacy in the approach”.


The Congress leader noted that Supreme Court couldn’t have done what various high courts have done and cited the example of Delhi High Court passing an order at 9 p.m. at night to provide relief to oxygen starved Delhiites. He said the Supreme Court is ‘ill equipped’ to deal with local issues/logistics and should not supplant it with “the erroneous and fallacious touchstone of uniformity”.


The Congress spokesperson also noted that the apex court, at the 11th hour and on the last day of the incumbent CJI's term of office, has “virtually paralysed the ongoing action in the country to give a healing touch to local problems at the local level”.


“It is wrong because such orders have a demoralising, chilling, paralysing and negative effect on the excellent work being done by other non-governmental institutions of governance, including high courts,” he said, adding that the top court was ‘unable or unwilling’ to take hard steps to mitigate the COVID hardships faced by people for over the last 15 months.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2021 5:14:52 AM |

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