Chief Justice of the Madras High Court Sanjib Banerjee on Thursday wondered what the Centre was doing for the last 12 to 14 months without anticipating the second wave of COVID-19 and getting prepared to face it. Referring to desperate measures being taken when the wave was at its peak now, he said there cannot be ad hocism in dealing with a pandemic. The Centre should have acted in a planned and informed manner after obtaining expert advice, he said.
The observations were made during the hearing of a suo motu public interest litigation petition taken up by the court to monitor the availability of hospital beds, medicines, vaccines, oxygen, and ventilators in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The court had asked the Centre to respond on how it was helping the State and the Union Territory deal with the situation.
Presenting the Centre’s report, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) R. Sankaranarayanan said the Centre was coordinating between pharmaceutical companies that manufacture Remdesivir and the nodal officers of individual States to ensure seamless supply.
However, the Chief Justice, presiding over the first Division Bench along with Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, interrupted to say: “Mr. Solicitor, we cannot resist in asking this: All that you are showing is things that were to be hunky dory. But why are we in the present situation? What happened during the last 12 to 14 months? Why? Why are we jumping into action in the end of April to ensure that June becomes better?
The ASG responded that the surge was not expected until recently. “Had they anticipated, they would have worked on that,” he said. Expressing surprise, Chief Justice Banerjee said, “Sir, without meaning any disrespect to anyone, did they even consult any expert?”
Mr. Sankaranarayanan said a group of experts were working on the pandemic and that they had taken into account various methods to find out whether there would be a surge and to what extent it would be.
News Source: The Hindu News