Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde has taken suo moto cognizance of the current Covid emergency and has issued the notice. SC has appointed Senior Advocate Harish Salve as the amicus curiae to assist in the matter.
The court might also transfer the related cases before High Courts to itself as all these cases are leading to ambiguity. “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.
The court has decided to issue notice on four issues including supply of oxygen, supply of essential drugs, power to declare lockdown, method and manner of vaccination.
“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.
Although the apex court will decide whether to transfer the cases from High Courts at later stage, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta asked the bench whether the Central government should respond to High Courts now that the top court is seized of the issue.
To which Justice Ravindra Bhat replied, “You can present the national plan. It is not to supersede any order as of now. You can submit that plan to High Courts.”
The matter will now be heard tomorrow to hear Centre and amicus curiae only. “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,” SG Mehta said.