Written By Eugenia Enyonam Datsomor
It is of no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused more harm than good. However, the main issue at hand has to do with restraint. Thus, how far can the court go in relation with suggestions to tackle Covid. We all have rights and need unity to be able to fight the pandemic but are there restrictions related to this. Where do we draw the partition for courts?
The Allahabad High Court issued the upgrade of medical facilities in the state of Uttar Pradesh on 17th May with regards to the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. This was heard by the Supreme Court which was adjourned to 12th August 2021. It was said that the Allahabad High Court on 17th May had passed directions for the provision regarding ambulances with ICU facilities in all villages, making oxygen beds available in all nursing homes, upgrade of medical college hospitals and many more on an urgent basis in a time-bound manner considering the second wave of the pandemic.
It should be noted that the directions given by the high court were difficult to implement. Some of these were, two ambulances with ICU facilities in one month in about 97000 villages, medical college hospitals should be upgraded to the level of Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate institute within four months and some others. The Solicitor General made mention that the High Court should refrain from orders that cannot be implemented. It was also mentioned that the court needs to adhere to separation of powers.
Justice Maheshwari stated that “there are certain issues which are the domain of the executive and at this time of crisis everyone has to proceed cautiously and take note of what is to be done by whom. Every institution has norms which they work with”. It was also said that the High Court’s directions wouldn’t be treated as an order but rather an advice to the UP government.
From Article 50 of the Indian Constitution, the separation of powers between the executive and judiciary is provided. In some cases like, Bandhuvia Mukti Morcha v Union of India as well as the case of Keshavananda Bharati vs. State of Kerala, though not substantially mentioned by the constitution, but it can be implied that the constitution makes use of separation of powers by allocating different roles to the different bodies of government. This is evident as if we talk about Article 53, it talks of executive power with the President as then head and governors at different stages as per Article 154. Powers of legislature resides in the house of parliament, thus Article 79 and State legislative bodies; Article 168 all of the Indian Constitution.
In my view, though some powers and functions overlap due to Checks and Balances, there’s a border for each and every function where one organ should not cross to perform the function of another. Though adjourned for August, it is of my opinion that the courts should not be able to cross over to the executive arena although suggestions can be given, As even the court also stated that “Collective efforts are needed during times of crisis, but good intent itself does not give everybody a right to enter into a different arena”.
This article has been edited by Dhruv Kapoor.