‘High courts better at local level’: Bar body on SC taking up suo motu cognizance of COVID-19 situation

SCBA submitted that the Supreme Court has consistently held that the power of the high courts under Article 226 of the Constitution is not only vast enough to cover the ambit of Article 32 thereof.

NEW DELHI:  Hours after the Supreme Court took suo motu cognizance of the national health emergency caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) opposed the decision, stating that the issue is already pending before various high courts.

“Some difficulties are arising at local level and the same are being resolved by various High Courts in view of the local situation. High Courts appear to be best suited to deal with the situation, hence it would be proper to allow the Hon’ble High Courts to continue dealing with the issue,” the plea filed by SCBA said.

SCBA submitted that the Supreme Court has consistently held that the power of the high courts under Article 226 of the Constitution is not only vast enough to cover the ambit of Article 32 thereof, rather its ambit travel beyond the later.

The plea submits that petitions were filed before various high courts and all of them are considering the Covid-related issues and giving directions on an emergent basis keeping in view the local situation within their territorial jurisdiction.

The application states that high courts situated almost invariably in the state capitals, are in a better position to seek immediate reports from the local administration and pass directions and orders for immediate removal of difficulties arising in treatment of the infected patients, depending upon the situation at the local level.

“State machineries are lacking on various aspects and High Courts are suitably dealing with the issues prevailing at the local level,” reads the plea.

Taking a similar line, former SCBA president Dushyant Dave said: “Any high court would be in a better position to address the local issues. Do we now expect hospitals from far flung states to come to the top court and not approach their high court to address their issues?”

Supreme Court lawyer and Rajya Sabha member Vivek Tankha said: “High courts should monitor at micro level. Supreme Court has neither time nor details to deal with challenges facing the states.”

Source: The New Indian Express

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