Order of the Supreme Court of India regarding management of COVID-19, 22/04/2021

  • 22/04/2021

Order of the Supreme Court of India in the matter of 'In Re: Distribution of essential supplies and services during pandemic' dated 22/04/2021. The SC noted that drugs, oxygen and vaccination availability and distribution to address the COVID-19 pandemic is being carried out by governments including the central government according to protocols established by the health authorities. However, it seems that a certain amount of panic has been generated and people have invoked the jurisdiction of several High Courts in the country seeking various reliefs such as Delhi, Bombay, Sikkim, Madhya Pradesh, Calcutta, Allahabad and Gujarat.

"The High Courts have passed certain orders which may have the effect of accelerating and prioritising the services to a certain set of people and slowing down the availability of these resources to certain other groups whether the groups are local, regional or otherwise," the SC order, April 22, 2021 said.

The apex court stressed that distribution of the essential services and supplies must be done in an even handed manner according to the advice of the health authorities - taking into account factors like severity, susceptibility, the number of people affected and the local availability of resources. The SC directed the Central Government to place before the court a national plan for dealing with the above services and supplies during a pandemic.