Is SC a divided house on judicial interference in pandemic management? | India News – Times of India


NEW DELHI: Just a day after Supreme Court judge DY Chandrachud took some credit in the court bringing about a revision in the Centre’s vaccination policy, a bench of Supreme Court on Wednesday observed that constitutional courts should be restrained in policy decisions and even said it will consider setting out norms.
Hearing a plea filed by Uttar Pradesh government against the Allahabad high court which had passed a slew of directions on management of the pandemic in the state and passed adverse observations against the government, a bench of Justices Vineet Saran and Dinesh Maheshwari asked whether the HC should have entered the arena.
The bench said the intention of the court could not be questioned and there was no doubt it wanted to improve the situation but the issue was whether interference was at all needed during the period of crisis which should be left to be handled by government and experts. The SC bench’s views come in the wake of the court and several high courts taking up issues like oxygen supply and vaccination.
“Howsoever good (is the) intention and objective, when there is demarcation, then we have to respect the demarcation. We have to be very careful..,” the bench said, referring that the judiciary should not interfere in the domain of the executive as per the principles of separation of power.
“Everybody needs to be conscious about what is to be done by whom. How far the constitutional court goes into such matter. We want to lay down on that aspect,” it said.
The difference of opinion among different SC benches on various issues, including the pandemic, showed up with Justice Chandrachud on Monday saying the state is empowered to take policy decisions on the pandemic but if this infringes on the constitutional rights of the people, the validity of the policy is amenable to judicial review. However, since the Indian Supreme Court sits in smaller and co-equal benches, it gives way to contestations about the interpretation of same socio-economic rights and the level of deference that is shown to the executive on issues of policy, he said.
He also cited that a bench of the SC refused to entertain a PIL for payment of minimum wages for migrant workers during lock down but another bench took suo motu cognisance and passed directions. “While the above examples show how the Supreme Court differed in its approach to intervene in the actions…it also indicates how smaller and co-equal benches of the Court provide a possibility of reading law differently,” he said.





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