Some of the statements made by judges of various courts while hearing petitions on pandemic management by Central and State Governments have not helped matters but added to confusion
Today our nation is plagued by the coronavirus crisis. There has been an atmosphere of chaos in the entire country. In this second wave of the pandemic, the crisis of lack of oxygen has arisen, of the scale no one would have imagined. Due to this many people have died tragically and relatives of many people have been going through physical, financial and mental sufferings. Naturally, there is a pain in the mind seeing these horrific scenes. At this time, many people had filed Public Interest Litigations (PILs) in High Courts and the Supreme Court, which is absolutely natural, as many of those or their near and dear ones had to go through a very painful situation. But in respect of these petitions, the reactions given by the judges are painful to the mind and again raise the issue of judicial activism and overstretch.
An honorable judge of the High Court of Delhi has said that "we cannot see people dying". No one can see people dying, but does that mean that the officials of the Union and State Governments, the political and administrative functionaries there are sitting hand in hand? All those who see and hear the news delivered through print and electronic media are seeing how the work is going on at war footing. The Central Government is trying to supply oxygen in every possible way. Indian Railways and all three wings of armed forces are continuously engaged in this work. Large industrialists have been called upon and exhorted to make medical oxygen. A plan has been made to get oxygen and medicines from many countries of the world. All the efforts are being made in procure vaccines and medicines also and we are also getting a positive response and things are being delivered. Similarly, states and municipalities have also started work on a war footing. All these people are working so hard to help out people in every possible way.
An Honorable Delhi High Court judge has said that "we cannot see people dying". No one can see people dying. Does it mean that the officials of the Union and State Governments, the political and administrative functionaries were sitting idle?
In his another sentence, the honorable judge says that "You are riding an elephant". Most of these people have been elected with popular mandate for whom the judge was using this sentence. Barring the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, the Chief Ministers of all other States are elected by the public. The Union Government has also secured the majority consecutively second time. In such a situation, should the public get a negative message about the entire democratic process due to these kinds of statements by an Honorable Judge? The lady judge of the High Court of Delhi even went on to say that People will keep dying and you will not do anything? How painful this sentence is to the mind. Similarly, a Bench of High Court has told the Election Commission that: “You should be put up on murder charges probably.” If the coronavirus is spreading due to the elections, then the COVID-19 cases should not have spiked in States where elections have not been held such as Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, etc., where corona has increased the most. There is no doubt that society should be saved from the present crisis, but the language in which the Honorable Judges are speaking, is astonishing. When the people of the Election Commission went to the Supreme Court, then the honorable Judge said that you understand the sentiments behind these words. Perhaps the officials of the Election Commission would understand the sentiments, but the common people who read only remarks of the Courts through newspapers or listen to the news on different channels appearing on TV will not understand it. They will keep in mind only words which are sufficient to discredit the democratic set up.
Not that everything is gloomy. One positive thing happened in one of such cases when the Allahabad High Court ordered the State Government to impose lockdown in some big cities of the State. The State Government approached the Supreme Court against this. The Supreme Court quashed this order of the High Court and directed that the State Government should decide the matter; this policy be the policy as per the Constitutional provisions on the division of powers.
If COVID-19 is spreading due to the elections, then the cases should not have spiked in States where elections have not been held. Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, etc., witnessed huge surge in cases. Society should be saved from the present crisis but the language in which the Honorable Judges were speaking, is astonishing
The intent of all the Honorable Judges is certainly good but there remarks are creating the atmosphere of distrust for everyone, from the Prime Minister to the village level sarpanch. If only these great personalities would create an atmosphere of mistrust in this way, then what would a normal person do? In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Shri Krishna has said, " यद्यदाचरति श्रेष्ठस्तत्तदेवेतरो जनः । (Whatever a superior person does, other persons follow that very thing! Whatever he upholds as authority, an ordinary person follows that.)
Saint Dnyaneshwar ji has also reiterated the same in Dnyaneshwari. I am aware that what I am saying may sound like big words from an ordinary person like me but in today's situation all kinds of efforts should be made to save the entire society and the country by keeping away all kinds of differences. I have written this in the same spirit. Hope that the intelligentsia of the society will consider it in the same vein.
(The writer is a social activist and member of National Executive, RSS)