New Delhi, Oct 1 : The Supreme Court on Thursday said the government has to be given latitude in handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, as it declined to entertain a PIL by retired bureaucrats seeking an independent inquiry commission to examine Centre’s gross mismanagement of the pandemic.
The PIL was vehemently argued by advocate Prashant Bhushan before a bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and Ajay Rastogi.
Bhushan argued that commissions have been appointed earlier in such matters and raised the issues of plight of migrant workers during the lockdown, which was imposed by the Centre.
Bhushan also pointed out at the “Namaste Trump” programme, which was organized with a huge congregation and it was a case where MHA’s guidelines, in the crowd contact situation, were flouted.
He insisted before the bench to direct an inquiry into the PM’s unilateral decision to declare lockdown.
However, the bench replied that a pandemic situation was not anticipated a few months back .
The bench said “it can be a matter of public debate, but courts cannot intervenea..some latitude must be given to the government”. After a detailed hearing, the bench declined to entertain the PIL.
Bhushan argued that the Centre could not control Covid-19 outbreak, instead it destroyed the economy, as crores lost their jobs and the economy contracted close to 25 per cent.
The plea was filed by ex-bureaucrat K.P. Fabian and others through Bhushan. The plea sought direction to appoint commission under Section 3 of the Commission of Inquiry Act.
The petitioners sought that the commission should be headed by a former Supreme Court judge and comprising experts from fields of medical science, epidemiology, public health, law and social sciences. And, this commission should conduct an independent inquiry into issues of failure of the lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19.