Impossible to Implement: SC Stays HC Directions on UP COVID Issues
The HC had said that medical facilities in UP are so abysmal that the people are “being led towards a third wave”.
Staying Allahabad High Court’s directions in relation to the COVID-19 management in Uttar Pradesh, the Supreme Court on Friday, 21 May, said they were “impossible to implement”.
An apex court bench of Justice Vineet Saran and Bhushan Gavai, was quoted by Bar and Bench, as saying:
“We are of the opinion that high courts should normally consider the possibility of execution of their directions. If such directions cannot be implemented, then such orders may not be passed. The doctrine of impossibility is equally applicable to courts.”
Considering a suo moto case to tackle COVID-19 issues amid the horrific nationwide second wave, the Allahabad High Court had on Monday, 17 May, passed a slew of directions regarding providing ambulances with ICU facilities in all villages, making oxygen beds available in all nursing homes, and upgradation of medical college hospitals in the state on an urgent and in a time-bound manner.
The Supreme Court (SC) also appointed Senior Advocate Nidhesh Gupta as Amicus Curiae in the case.
However, on the state’s request for a transfer of all COVID-19 related matters pending before the High Court to a bench headed by Chief Justice Sanjay Yadav, the SC said that it was the prerogative of the Chief Justice himself.
"We cannot demoralise the high courts. We have balanced our order," the Court said.
The Supreme Court will further take up the matter next on 14 July.
WHAT DID THE STATE SAY?
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the state claimed that the Allahabad HC’s directions are impossible to comply with.
“Health infrastructure can never be ignored. But these directions are impossible to comply with...we understand the anxiety of the court. But this is a matter of concern. Courts should also have some judicial restraint and not pass orders that are difficult to be implemented.”SG Tushar Mehta
Further, the state contended that the HC had failed to appreciate that UP is the most populous state in the country and that “despite facing big challenges, the state has been making continuous efforts to control the spread of the virus. UP has the fundamental duty to provide medical health facilities to the best of its abilities and the petitioner state is doing so.”
ALLAHABAD HC’S CRITICISM OF THE UP GOVT’S HANDLING OF COVID
The Allahabad High Court, on Monday, 17 May, while addressing the issue of the COVID-19 crisis in the state of Uttar Pradesh, said:
“If this is the state of affairs of treatment at the medical college in a city like Meerut, then the entire medical system of the state pertaining to the smaller cities and villages can only be taken to be like a famous Hindi saying ‘Ram Bharose’.”
The court did not mince words to point out that the medical facilities in UP are so abysmal that the people are “being led towards a third wave”. The court was also not impressed with the pace of testing in rural areas.
Further, taking cognisance of the acute shortage of vaccines in Uttar Pradesh, the Allahabad High Court said that it is hard to understand why our government, which is a welfare state, is not trying to manufacture the vaccine itself on a large scale.
In order to streamline the COVID-19 response in the state, the court issued certain suggestions for the UP government’s consideration.
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