In the wake of the second wave of Covid-19, the Supreme Court has directed the Central and state governments to consider imposing a ban on mass gatherings and super spreader events.
“We would seriously urge the Central and State governments to consider imposing a ban on mass gatherings and super spreader events. They may also consider imposing a lockdown to curb the virus in the second wave in the interest of public welfare,” the SC said.
“Having said that, we are cognizant of the socio-economic impact of a lockdown, specifically, on the marginalised communities. Thus, in case the measure of a lockdown is imposed, arrangements must be made beforehand to cater to the needs of these communities,” the apex court added.
“Left to their own devices, citizens have had to suffer immeasurable hardship. Different states and local authorities follow their own protocols. Differing standards for admission in different hospitals across the nation leads to chaos and uncertainty. The situation cannot brook any delay,” it said.
“Accordingly, we direct the Central Government to frame a policy in this regard, in the exercise of its statutory powers under the Disaster Management Act, which will be followed nationally. The presence of such a policy shall ensure that no one in need is turned away from a hospital, due to no fault of their own,” it further added.
The top court in its order said that the Central government, in collaboration with State governments, create a buffer stock of oxygen to ensure supply lines continue to function even in unforeseen circumstances and decentralise the location of the emergency stocks.
“The emergency stocks shall be created within the next four days and is to be replenished on a day to day basis, in addition to the existing allocation of oxygen supply to the States,” the order stated.
“There should be free flow of information; we should hear voices of citizens. This is a national crisis. There should not be any presumption that the grievances raised on the Internet are always false. Let a strong message be sent to all the DGPs that there should not be any kind of clampdown,” the bench had said.
While the healthcare professionals have been at the forefront of tackling this crisis, we have to recognize their contribution as medical healthcare professionals who have undertaken “to protect public health using proven scientific evidence and best practices and to serve to the community at large”, and not just as “CORONA WARRIORS”, the top court said.