COVID-19: SC takes suo motu cognisance of various issues, may transfer cases from HCs to avoid confusion

SC said that it will issue notice on four issues: supply of oxygen; supply of essential drugs; method and manner of vaccination and power to declare lockdown

Supreme Court of India (File photo)
Supreme Court of India (File photo)
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NH Web Desk

The Supreme Court on Thursday registered a suo motu case concerning issues arising out of COVID-19 pandemic and the management of the crisis unfolding in various states.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde also appointed Harish Salve as amicus curiae to assist the court in the matter.

The court said that six High Courts dealing with issues arising out of COVID management was creating confusion.

"We as a court wish to take suo motu cognizance of certain issues. We find that there are 6 High Courts – Delhi, Bombay Sikkim, MP, Calcutta and Allahabad. They are exercising jurisdiction in best interest. But it is creating confusion and diversion of resources," the court said, as per a Bar & Bench report.

It, therefore, said that it will issue notice on four issues: supply of oxygen; supply of essential drugs; method and manner of vaccination and power to declare lockdown.

"We want the power to clear lockdown to be with states and should not be judicial decision. We issue notice to the Central government on these issues," the court said.


The court said that it will examine whether to transfer these issues from High Courts to itself at a later stage.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta asked whether the Central government should respond to High Courts now that the top court is seized of the issue.

"You can present the national plan. It is not to supersede any order as of now. You can submit that plan to High Courts," said Justice Ravindra Bhat.

That issue can, however, be considered at a later stage when the Supreme Court will decide whether to transfer matters from High Courts to itself, said CJI SA Bobde.

The case will be heard again tomorrow when only the Central government and amicus curiae will be heard.

"We are taking suo motu cognizance and issuing notice to you. Only Mr Salve and you will be there," CJI Bobde said.

"In the meanwhile we will inform the High Courts that you have taken suo motu cognizance," said SG Mehta.

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Published: 22 Apr 2021, 1:29 PM