The Supreme Court of India has said that it refuses to remove critical remarks made by the Madras High Court holding the Election Commission responsible for the Covid-19 surge in India. Recently, the Commission approached the apex court after the Madras HC said that the poll panel should be booked for murder.
The SC Bench of Justice DY Chandrachud said that constitutional bodies can do better than complaining and asking for gags on the media. The Bench also slammed the EC’s petition seeking restriction on the media from reporting the observation of judicial proceeding. “Courts have to remain alive to evolving technology of media, it is not good, if it is restrained from reporting judicial proceedings,” the Bench said as reported by various news agencies.
The Supreme Court reminded that Article 19 does not give the right to freedom of speech and expression only to people, but also bestows this right to the media. The Bench pointed out that It would be retrograde for the Supreme Court to muzzle the media. The Apex Court also added that it finds no substance in EC’s plea to restrain media from reporting court proceedings. The Court added that is essential to hold the judiciary accountable.
The Bench, however, said that the Madras High Court’s remarks against the Election Commission were harsh and judicial restraint was necessary as it is open for misinterpretation. “Judicial language is important for constitutional ethos. The power of judicial review is so high that it forms a basic structure," the apex court observed.
On April 26, The Madras High Court said that the Election Commission is “singularly responsible” for the second Covid-19 wave in India. “Election Commission officers should be booked on murder charges probably,” Madras High Court Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee said.
Justice Banerjee rebuked the Election Commission for not ensuring Covid-19 norms during election rallies. When the EC’s lawyers told the Court that the Commission took measures to curb Covid-19 spread at election rallies, the Chief Justice replied, “Were you on another planet when political rallies were being held?”
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has asked the Centre to ensure that there is no oxygen panic in Delhi as reports emerged that India could face a third Covid-19 wave. The SC has asked the Centre to prepare a plan to tackle the third wave of Covid-19.
“Third-wave comes how will you deal with it?... Scientists are saying that children will be affected and they can go into hospitals and have to accompanied by the mother or father,” the Supreme Court said.
The Supreme Court’s observation as India recorded its highest single Covid-19 deaths with 3,980 deaths the past 24 hours. India also recorded its highest single-day spike with 4.12 lakh Covid-19 cases on Thursday.