'Clampdown on information will be treated as contempt of court': Key points from SC's Covid-19 hearing

By Online Desk
With social media becoming the new ‘SOS’ platform for many people during the second COVID-19 wave in India, the Supreme Court on Friday said “don’t want any clampdown of information. The court will treat it as a contempt if such grievances are considered for action.”

“We want to make it very clear that if citizens communicate their grievance on social media, then it cannot be said it’s wrong information,” said a bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud.

Confirming that the ground reality in most states is the lack of medical oxygen not meeting the excessive demand, the SC asked the state governments to come up with a plan of action. 

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The court, taking cognizance of the current Covid-19 crisis, said “Governments need to tell what difference they can make between today and the next date of court hearing,” especially in Delhi, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Further, the court observed that the situation was ‘indeed grim’ as even doctors and healthcare workers are not getting beds.

The court said the Centre should adopt national immunization model as poor people will not be able to pay for vaccines.

“What happens to the marginalised and SC/ST population? Should they be left to the mercy of private hospitals,” it asked.

The court also said the government must consider National Immunisation Programme for various vaccines and must think of providing free of cost vaccination to all citizens.

Key points:

There should not be any clamp down on dissemination of information on COVID-19
Clampdown on information will be treated as contempt of court, direction be issued to DGPs in this regard
There should be free flow of information, we should hear voices of citizens
There should not be any presumption that grievances raised on internet by citizens are false
Hostels, temples, churches and other places should be opened for converting them as COVID care centres
Healthcare sector has come to a breakpoint and retired doctors or officials could be re-employed in this crisis
SC to hear on May 10 suo motu case on devising national policy for Covid management
Creating new structures or committees will not help anyone, we will have to avail all available resources
SC order on aspects related to Covid care management to be uploaded on its website on May 1
Centre needs to ensure no local address proof of Covid-19 patients is sought by hospitals for admission
Court asks Centre to make uniform policy for admission of Covid-19 patients