he Supreme Court Thursday dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a group of six bureaucrats for an independent inquiry into the Central Government’s “gross mismanagement” of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
A bench of Justices L Nageshwara Rao and Ajay Rastogi said that the issue raised in the petition is a matter of public debate but the court could not go into this.
“Government has to be given latitude. It is a matter of opinion. Nobody knew this would happen”, said the bench.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, for the petitioners, contended that despite WHO’s warning, one lakh people were allowed to gather at the ‘Namaste Trump’ event at a stadium on February 24. Further, the 24% decline in GDP and loss of jobs for two crore people had occurred due to the sudden declaration of the lockdown by the government without consulting experts.
The Petitioners claimed that the Centre’s response to the pandemic and its “deleterious impact” on the lives and livelihoods of citizens was a “definite matter of public importance and warrants appointment of a commission” under section 3 of the Commission of Inquiry Act.
It alleged that the nationwide lockdown, which was announced on March 24, was “arbitrary, irrational and without due consultation with experts or state governments”.
The plea was filed by retired bureaucrats KP Fabian, MG Devasahayam, Meena Gupta, Somasundar Burra, Amit Bhaduri, and Madhu Bhaduri.