‘Keep Politics Aside’: SC Tells Delhi to Talk to Centre Amid COVID
The SC also warned the Centre, as well as other authorities, against the alleged clampdown on social media.
The Supreme Court of India, on Friday, 30 April, told the Delhi government to “keep politics aside” and talk to the Centre amid the horrific COVID-19 crisis. These remarks by the top court came in the same hearing in which the court warned the Centre, as well as other authorities, against the alleged clampdown on social media.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao, and S Ravindra Bhat were hearing a suo motu case on issues, such as shortage of essential drugs, vaccination, the oxygen crisis, and various other policies pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic, when they, as per ANI, said:
“We told the Centre how it has a special responsibility to Delhi but we need to send a message to the highest levels of your government, that in this humanitarian crisis we don’t want lives to be lost in political bickering.”
Further, the court pointed out that politics is for election, and that “at this time of humanitarian crisis each and every life needs to be taken care of”.
The court asked advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for the Delhi government to convey: “Our message to the highest-level is that they have to keep politics aside and talk to the Centre.”
Supreme Court also told Rahul Mehra to ask the Chief Secretary of Delhi to speak with Solicitor General Tushar Mehta
Advocate Rahul Mehra, on his part, reportedly assured the court that Delhi government will follow the court’s instructions in letter and spirit.
‘We Should Hear Voices of Citizens’: SC to Centre
Meanwhile, the court bench, on Friday also informed the Centre, states, as well as other authorities in the country:
“We don’t want any clampdown of information. We will treat it as contempt of court if such grievance is considered for action. Let a strong message go to all the states and DGP of states. Clampdown of information is contrary to basic precepts. I flag this issue at the outset. We want to make it very clear that if citizens communicate their grievances on social media and the internet then it cannot be said its wrong information.”
SC told the Centre that there should be free flow of information, adding, “We should hear voices of citizens.”
The court said it will also hear citizens crying for oxygen cylinders. “The ground situation in Delhi is that oxygen is not really available and it is the same in Gujarat and Maharashtra. The government has to tell us what difference will be there from today and the next day of the hearing,” Chandrachud said.
Meanwhile, the Centre on its part had claimed before the court that there is no shortage of medical oxygen in the country.
The court also, as per PTI, said that the Centre should adopt national immunisation model, as poor people will not be able to pay for vaccines.
"What happens to the marginalised and SC/ST population? Should they be left to the mercy of private hospitals,” the court asked.
Background: Chaos, Unavailability, and Crisis
As chaos over the unavailability of vaccines and crumbling health infrastructure continues, at least 19 states and 1 UT have expressed the inability to start the vaccination drive for people in the age group of 18-44 from 1 May.
India on Friday reported 3,86,452 new COVID-19 cases, 3,498 deaths, and 2,97,540 discharges in the last 24 hours, as per the Union Health Ministry. The total cases in the country now stand at 1,87,62,976.
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