SCBA moves SC, says HCs best suited to deal COVID-19 issues at local levels

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New Delhi, Apr 22 (PTI) A lawyers' body Thursday moved the Supreme Court, which has taken suo motu cognisance of prevailing grim pandemic situation in the country, urging it to allow various high courts to deal with the COVID-19 related issues at local level saying they “appear to be best suited to deal with the situation”.

Earlier in the day, a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde took cognizance of the pandemic situation and issued notice to the Centre for Friday and sought a “national plan” on issues including supply of oxygen and essential drugs for treatment of patients infected with the virus.

The top court also hinted that it would deal with the method and manner of COVID-19 vaccination in the country and the aspect relating to judicial power of the high courts to declare lockdown amid the pandemic.

The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), through its President and senior advocate Vikas Singh, has filed the plea seeking to intervene as a party in the suo-motu case titled as 'In Re: Distribution of Essential Supplies and Services During Pandemic' and said that under the given situation, the high courts are best suited to deal with local issues.

'The High Courts, situated almost invariably in the capital of the states, 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 local emergent situation. The State machineries are lacking on various aspects and High Courts are suitably dealing with the issues prevailing at local level within their territorial jurisdiction', the plea said.

The bar body, however, said certain issues like inter-state free and fast movement of essential supplies related to treatment of infected patients as well as basic needs of general public for survival during this misfortune, issues of migrant workers returning home due to lockdown may need a 'centralized consideration', which may be dealt by the top court.

The bench, also comprising justices L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat, would take up the plea for hearing on Friday. PTI SJK RKS RKS