SC takes cognizance of COVID-19 situation, asks for national plan

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The Supreme Court on Thursday took suo motu cognisance of Covid management — supply of oxygen, essential drugs supply, method and manner of vaccination and judicial power to declare lockdown.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde also appointed senior advocate Harish Salve as amicus curiae in the matter.

The bench noted that six High Courts — Delhi, Bombay Sikkim, MP, Calcutta and Allahabad — were dealing with issues related with COVID management and it was creating confusion.

The court said: “We as a court wish to take suo motu cognizance of certain issues. They (High Courts) are exercising jurisdiction in best interest. But it is creating confusion and diversion of resources.”

The top court was hearing an application by Vedanta seeking to carry some repair work and re-start oxygen plant at the Tuticorin, which can manufacture thousand tonnes of oxygen for COVID-19 patients.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that the country is in dire need of oxygen. The plant has been shut since 2018 over environmental violations.

The top court also asked the Centre to present a national plan. The matter has been scheduled for hearing on Friday.