THE Supreme Court Friday stayed the Allahabad High Court’s May 17 order commenting that the medical system in Uttar Pradesh’s smaller cities and villages appeared to be at the mercy of God or ‘Ram Bharose’ and directing that every B and C grade town in the state be provided with at least 20 ambulances and every village with at least two ambulances with intensive care facilities. The high court had said the ambulances should be made available within one month.
The order was passed by a bench of Justices Vineet Saran and BR Gavai on an appeal filed by the Uttar Pradesh government contending that the high court’s directions were practically impossible to implement.
The bench also appointed Senior Advocate Nidhesh Gupta as Amicus Curiae in the case. It also clarified that the proceedings before the high court would continue.
Referring to the “Ram Bharose” remark, the Solicitor General, for the UP government, said such remarks had the effect of creating panic among citizens and demoralizing health workers who had been working around the clock. Besides, they also had the effect of nullifying the endeavours of state officials.
The high court’s “Ram Bharose” comment came to be made after it found that a dead body of a Covid19 patient who was admitted to the Medical College in Merrut was marked as unidentified, packed in a bag and disposed of.
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The top court appreciated the efforts of the high court in Covid19 management but added that courts must consider how their directions will be executed. If such directions cannot be implemented, then such orders must not be passed. “The doctrine of impossibility is equally applicable to courts,” the apex court said.
It also added in matters which have transnational and international ramifications, the High Court should normally refrain from issuing directions in such matters, especially when such matters of national level are being considered by the Supreme Court.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who was appearing for the state government also urged the court to pass an order directing that all Covid19 related matters be heard by the chief justices of the concerned high courts. The Supreme Court turned down the plea, saying it could not pass such a sweeping direction.
The court added the constitution of benches was the prerogative of the chief justice and it was up to them to pass appropriate orders. When the Solicitor General persisted, the court said it would not want to demoralise the high courts.
The division bench of Justices Siddhartha Varma and Ajit Kumar at the Allahabad High Court has been passing a slew of directions for improving Covid19 management in the state. The bench has been critical of the state government’s management of the pandemic.
Also Read: Allahabad HC expresses displeasure at inadequate information provided by UP govt regarding state’s Covid management; expresses surprise at gradual reduction in testing