The coronavirus epidemic in India necessitates introspection. There have been blunders and missteps. Though no one could have expected such a large wave, India could have been better prepared.
It’s also true that large religious and political gatherings may have been cancelled. A blame game in the midst of a crisis could not be beneficial. However, this does not mean that we do not keep governments accountable.
Indian courts have now intervened. They are ensuring that those in charge do not become complacent. At least 11 high courts have ruled against various state governments and the central government.
The Supreme Court of India has made it abundantly clear that the judiciary will not remain a bystander in the current turmoil.
Indian courts are ensuring that the political elite is kept accountable.
High courts in Delhi, Allahabad, Patna, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Chennai are hearing petitions concerning the covid-19 situation in their respective states.
Their interventions and criticism of the responsible governments are both sharp and reassuring.
On April 27th, the Delhi High Court slammed the Aam Aadmi Party administration, saying its confidence had been shaken by the handling of the national capital crisis.
“Put your house in order. Enough already.” If you are unable to do so, please notify us, and we will request that the central government send officers to assist you. We will request that they take over. ‘We cannot let people die in this manner,’ the court said.
The Delhi government has been ordered by the high court to resolve the alleged mismanagement in the distribution of medical oxygen and to ensure oxygen supply “by any means possible.“
On April 19, the Allahabad High Court chastised the Uttar Pradesh government for its handling of the escalating cases.
“Those in positions of authority must reject the mentality of my way or no way.” They should be open to suggestions from all directions. We would be laughed at if we had enough money to spend on elections but very little on public health,’ said the court.
The court also ordered a lockdown in the state’s five major cities, but the order was stayed by a Supreme Court directive after the UP government protested.
The Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court has summoned the Election Commission in West Bengal, which held a month-long election in the middle of the second wave and will count votes on May 2nd.
“The ECI has the authority to act, but what is it doing?” Simply sending out circulars and leaving it up to the people? The court stated that “the issuance of circulars and the holding of meetings do not discharge the ECI’s onerous duty.“
On April 16, the Gujarat High Court filed a complaint against the state government for downplaying the seriousness of the crisis.
“Hiding the true picture and suppressing accurate data will result in more serious problems such as terror, lack of confidence, and panic among the public,” the court said.
The court has ordered the state government to ensure that its affidavits accurately represent the facts on the ground.
In Maharashtra, the Bombay High Court’s Nagpur bench chastised both the state and the central government for failing to comply with its order to supply 10,000 units of Remdesivir in the Vidarbha area.
“If you’re not ashamed of yourself, we’re ashamed of being a member of such a vile culture.” You are ignoring and neglecting patients. We have a solution, but you do not implement it. You don’t provide us with a solution. ‘What utter nonsense is going on here,’ the court exclaimed.
The exact words of Justices SB Shukre and SM Modak were “absolute nonsense.”