Supreme Court Fails Once Again During (Covid) Emergency – By Yogesh Pratap Singh & Lokendra Malik
The 1975 National Emergency which suspended the constitutional guaranty of life and liberty, tested the credibility of Supreme Court (SC) and it failed miserably by ruling that habeas corpus, stood suspended in times of Emergency. This decision encouraged the government to illegally detain thousands of people. The New York Times named it Indian Supreme Court’s “utter surrender” to an absolutist government. Democracy survived. Judges apologized. To wipe out this dark spot on its face, SC composed a new phase of “judicial activism” and did an incredible good work for underprivileged, disadvantaged and illiterate sections of the society.
But, adversity has struck once again. A situation nothing less than emergency has knocked the doors of the SC but it once again failed and allowed the government to violate fundamental rights in the name of un-declared emergency. The recent judicial trend has created a general perception that the Supreme Court in the recent past has helped the Government in all cases involving high-stake such as Ram Temple, Rafael Case, Judge Loya death etc to name a few. It also refrained from examining legal and constitutional challenges posed to the Centre’s decision on Article 370 that changed the constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir.
The worst was yet to come. The SC Bench consisting Justices L Nageswara Rao, Justice Kaul and Justice Gavai dismissed a petition seeking directions to the Centre to ask all District Magistrates to identify stranded migrant workers and provide shelter, food to them before ensuring their free transportation to native places. The hearing came a day after fourteen migrant workers were killed in two separate accidents in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh and more than 60 people were injured.