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Thursday, June 1, 2023

“Cannot encroach upon the executive domain”: SC junks plea for CBI probe in oxygen crisis

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to entertain a plea seeking a CBI probe in connection with medical oxygen shortage during course of second wave of pandemic, and also constituting a commission of inquiry headed by either top court judge or chief justice of a high court.

A bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said: “We have set up a national task force… we cannot encroach upon the executive domain.”

It also remarked: “Sometimes P in the PIL goes beyond public into other interests. We don’t want our court to be an instrument to pursue other Ps in a public interest litigation.”

The bench also comprising Justice B.V. Nagarathna noted the responsibility of the task force has been formulated in broad terms, wherein one issue was ensuring adequate supply of oxygen to meet requirement of patients.

The lawyer, representing the petitioner, submitted that his client had suffered due to lack of oxygen and pointed out than many citizens died during the second wave of the pandemic. To this, the bench replied that it is very easy to criticise the government, and even the court without being in the hot seat.

The bench emphasised that it has already set up a task force comprising of leading doctors, therefore there is no need for other inquiry or a parallel investigation.

On the aspect of a CBI probe into the oxygen crisis, the bench said the allegation with regard to criminal wrong cannot be assumed nor can be levelled lightly without adequate material.

The bench noted that CBI is always matter of last recourse and asked the counsel, has his client filed an FIR? It also noted that even the most developed nations in the world with advanced health infrastructure have struggled during the pandemic.

“Do we do a legal post mortem or do we do something positive which we have done in setting up of a task force,” it asked.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline.)

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