SC asks Centre to ensure states tighten measures to contain Covid-19 pandemic

The court pointed out processions were being taken out and 80% people were not wearing masks
Last Updated 27 November 2020, 12:54 IST

The Supreme Court on Friday said though the Centre has issued guidelines, there is slackness on part of states to implement the measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to rise of patients across the country.

“States should rise above politics and rise to the occasion,” a three-judge bench presided over by Justice Ashok Bhushan said, while hearing a Suo Motu matter.

The top court said in the absence of vaccine, norms to be observed for fighting the pandemic were wearing mask and observing social distancing.

“But what is the situation on ground? Union government must take lead to implement the guidelines across India. Harsher measures are needed,” the bench, also comprising Justices R Subhash Reddy and M R Shah told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

"Union government issues guidelines but what is the implementation of it in this state? No development of vaccines everything is in trial stage! Look at the gatherings in states! Second wave of the crisis has already begun," the bench further added.

The court also pointed out processions were being taken out and 80% people were not wearing masks and the rest have masks hanging on to their jaw.

"There are SOP's, there are guidelines but there is no will. Things are going from bad to worse and not concrete steps being taken by the Centre or state," the bench said, emphasising more tightening up by States was required.

Mehta said 10 states, including Maharashtra, Kerala, Delhi, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, were contributing to 70 % of the Covid cases.

The court also took suo motu cognisance of a fire incident in Rajkot hospital resulting in death of six in-patients.

"This is shocking! And let me say this is not the first incident," Justice Shah said.

Fire incidents in hospitals killing patients are recurring and there is no action taken by states to prevent it, the court said, as it sought a response from the Centre as well as Gujarat by Tuesday.

Mehta said, we will take account of measures and what can be done. "We will look at setting up preventive measures for fires," he said.

(Published 27 November 2020, 12:43 IST)

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