The Congress on Friday slammed the Supreme Court's suo moto intervention in COVID-19 management, terming it 'wrong' and 'uncalled for'. It further alleged that this amounts to the over-centralisation of judicial powers.
"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," Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said.
"It is wrong because decentralisation, and not over-centralisation -- judicial, administrative and societal -- is the need of the hour. It (SC intervention) is wrong because the Supreme Court is ill-equipped to deal with such local issues, local logistics and should not supplant that local touch on erroneous and fallacious touchstone of uniformity," he said while questioning why the high courts are being allegedly prevented from discharging their duties.
Stressing on the high courts' positive intervention in upholding the citizens' right to life and holding governments accountable in a nuanced, case-to-case basis, he said, "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."
Referring to the "shortage" of everything, Congress also slammed the central government over its handling of the pandemic. It said venerable institutions have to realise that their primary job is to protect the lives of citizens of India, not the reputation of the central government and demanded vaccine neutrality just like net neutrality.
"There is a shortage everywhere at the peak of the crisis. This government defines shortages, shortcomings, and short-sightedness," he slammed.
"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," he questioned.
However, the SC on Friday noted that it did not stop the high courts from hearing cases related to COVID-19 management in the country. A bench headed by former Chief Justice SA Bobde also slammed senior advocates for making statements without reading its order passed on Thursday. The SC on Thursday had said that it expects the Centre to form a national plan to deal with the proper distribution of oxygen and essential drugs for patients.
The Supreme Court also allowed senior advocate Harish Salve to withdraw as amicus curiae for the suo motu case related to the distribution of essential supplies and services, including oxygen and drugs, during the COVID-19 pandemic.