SC refuses demand for commission to probe Covid-19 ‘mismanagement’ by Centre

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday said it is not in favour of setting up a commission of inquiry to  probe alleged ‘gross mismanagement’ of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by the Central Government.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde, while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by six former bureaucrats, asserted that it was not dismissing the petition and could consider whether any relief could be granted to the petitioners.

The plea contends that mismanagement occurred at multiple levels, from not stocking enough protective and medical equipment to combat the health crisis to lack of early checking of homecoming international passengers and alleged 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 World Health Organisation.

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 probe.

The top court asked the petitioners’ counsel to show the violation of fundamental right or law. The bench said it cannot pass an order on a roving inquiry, as the petitioners think that the executive action was not satisfactory.

The CJI observed that there is a worldwide view that judiciary should not interfere with executive decision in an emergency situation like Covid-19 pandemic and adjourned the matter for next week. (AGENCIES)