JUDICIAL ACTIVITY DURING THE PANDEMIC CRISES: ACTIVISM OR OUTREACH
Judicial activity during the pandemic:
The Supreme Court declined the plea of the centre that the high court cannot entertain a plea for equitable distribution of oxygen, which in turn might hamper the pandemic management.
Several high court and Supreme court are at present handling cases related to availability of beds and oxygen.
The Supreme Court took the suo moto cognizance of all the cases related to the pandemic.
Above all, judicial intervention in the pandemic management reached its peak when it formulated a 12-member national task force for the effective and transparent allocation of medical oxygen to the States and Union Territories “on a scientific, rational and equitable basis”.
Is judicial intervention just?
Right to freedom of life: Judiciary is the guardian of the constitution. It is authorised and obliged to safeguard individual Right to freedom of life, guaranteed under article 21 of the constitution. This pandemic has witnessed many deaths due to lack of oxygen and hospital facilities, and the right to health is a fundamental right under the right to life. Thus the supreme court is just in its action.
Article 142: it says “The Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it, and any decree so passed or order so made shall be enforceable throughout the territory of India in such manner as may be prescribed by or under any law made by Parliament”. Thus the supreme court is well within its power to pass any order or decree in order to ensure that justice prevails.
Thus, as long as the court does not usurp the executive's role, action to mitigate a crisis is appreciated.