Monday, January 30, 2023

SC says no to demand for commission to probe alleged COVID mismanagement

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court today said that it was not in favour of appointing a commission of inquiry into the alleged mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

The bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and S. Ravindra Bhat was hearing a petition filed by K.P. Fabian and other retired bureaucrats who have submitted that such an inquiry is essential for seeking accountability from the Union government with respect to its failure in management of COVID 19.

The bench said that there is a worldwide view that the judiciary should not interfere with executive decisions in an emergency situation like COVID. The bench, nevertheless, said that it will consider other relief and adjourned the matter till next week.

The petitioners have submitted that the government failed to take timely measures for preventing the spread of COVID-19 despite being informed about the same in early January by the WHO.

Moreover, the government failed to disseminate material on public awareness about COVID 19 and preventive measures to be undertaken by people, including using masks, sanitizing hands, avoiding mass gatherings, etc in derogation of the NDMA Act.

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Hence, the petitioners had prayed for setting up a commission under Section 3 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952, headed by a retired Supreme Court judge and comprising experts from fields of medical science, epidemiology, public health, law and social sciences to conduct an independent inquiry on the issues in the present petition.

– India Legal Bureau

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