SC: How can court give direction to WHO, China on Covid-19 pandemic?

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The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to entertain a PIL that alleged that the Covid-19 pandemic is a human created genocide and urged the top court to issue directions to the World Health Organization (WHO) and China.

A bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and comprising of Justice Hrishikesh Roy told the petitioner-in-person Raman Kakkar, “You may be a doctor, but not a lawyer, which is evident from the prayers in the PIL.” The petitioner had moved the top court seeking to pass directions against the WHO officials, who failed to prevent the spread of Covid-19 disease in the world.

The bench observed that the plea which sought compensation from China to India, for losses incurred due to the pandemic, could not be maintained. The bench said the court has no jurisdiction to summon China and asked the petitioner, “this court is not the government and how can it say what the WHO and China should do?”

The petitioner claimed that the WHO had delayed by a month in declaring Covid-19 as a health emergency that threatened the world. The bench reiterated that the petition is not maintainable.

Many reports have emerged stating that China hid crucial information about Covid-19, including the discovery of the initial outbreak and the country’s first death for several days. Even, the US has blamed China for the Covid-19 outbreak across the globe.

In June, the apex court had declined to entertain a plea seeking direction to the Centre to move the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and file a USD 600 billion compensation case against China. The plea had alleged COVID-19 pandemic was “deliberately created” by China. Chief Justice S.A. Bobde had dismissed the petition, however granted liberty to the petitioner to make a representation before the Centre.

The plea had claimed there was strong evidence that COVID-19 originated from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, and also alleged that it had been deliberately created by China as a biological weapon against India.