SEVERAL Public Interest Litigations (PILs) seeking directions ranging from providing free unlimited calls, data usage facilities, testing of asymptomatic persons, mass house to house Covid19 testing to pleas seeking directions to curb the spread of fake news leading to the social stigmatisation of certain communities did not find favour with the Supreme Court today.
PIL filed by advocate Manohar Pratap sought a direction to the Centre to ensure that free unlimited calling, data usage and DTH facilities are provided to subscribers to ease “psychological stress” during the lockdown till May 3 due to the COVID19 pandemic.
A three-judge bench comprising Justices N V Ramana, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and B R Gavai dismissed the petition expressing their displeasure at the petition by remaking “what kind of petitions are being filed?”
In a different PIL listed today for hearing, three advocates namely Aanchal Singh, Disha Wadekar and Mohammad Wasim had sought directions to the Central Government to issue guidelines for “preventing the attacks, stigmatisation and boycott of members of certain communities” in view of the discrimination that has followed the COVID-19 spread.
Before dismissing the PIL, Justice B R Gavai who was on the bench along with Justices N V Ramana and Sanjay Kishan Kaul observed, “Government has already issued an advisory against the stigmatization of people due to Covid19”. The petitioners, however, contended that the guidelines did not have binding nature. Unimpressed with the petition, the court declined to entertain it.
SC also dismissed the PIL filed by advocates Prakhar Dixit and Siddharth Kumar Singh seeking directions to Central Government for collection of samples and testing of all asymptomatic persons in cities or district affected with Coronavirus using pooling methods for samples to increase the number of tests conducted.
In another case, the court warned the petitioners either to withdraw the petition or it would impose heavy costs. This was a PIL filed by Advocates Shaswat Anand, Ankur Azad and Faiz Ahmed, and law student Sagar seeking Door-to-Door mass testing for COVID-19 and also raising questions on the creation of a dedicated PM Cares Fund and several State CM Relief Funds when the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) and the State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF) were formed in 2005 after the National Disaster Management Act was brought into force.
The bench went on to observe that this petition had a “political colour”.