On Friday, the Supreme Court stayed the recent order passed by the Allahabad High Court in relation to the Covid-19 management in Uttar Pradesh, stating that the HC’s orders were impossible to implement, reports Live Law.
Taking an objection to the orders issued by the Allahabad High Court to the Uttar Pradesh government suggesting several measures to improve the medical infrastructure in the state, the Supreme Court said that High Courts should refrain from passing orders which cannot be implemented.
The Allahabad High Court, while considering a suo moto case taken to deal with COVID issues, had passed a slew of directions on May 17 in relation to providing ambulances with ICU facilities in all villages, making oxygen beds available in all nursing homes, up-gradation of medical college hospitals in view of the second wave.
In a controversial order, the Allahabad High Court had observed that the entire healthcare system in villages and small cities of the state was “Ram bharose” (at God’s mercy). The observations made by the Allahabad High Court had sparked off a debate about the ‘judicial overreach’ by the country’s judiciary, especially at the time of a national crisis.
A Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Vineet Saran and Bhushan Gavai stayed the order after hearing submissions made by Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, who appeared on behalf of the state of Uttar Pradesh.
“We are of the opinion that High Courts should normally consider the possibility of execution of their directions. If such directions cannot be implemented, then such orders may not be passed. The doctrine of impossibility is equally applicable to courts,” the Supreme Court said.
High Court venturing into the arena of governance, order impossible to implement: Uttar Pradesh
In its appeal before the Supreme Court, the Uttar Pradesh government said that the Allahabad High Court has failed to appreciate that UP is the most populous state in the country with a population of more than 24 crores.
SG Mehta said that even though the directions were “well-meaning”, they were difficult to implement. The Solicitor General added that the “Ram Bharose (at the mercy of God)” remark by the High Court would have a demoralising effect on health care professionals in the state.
“Despite facing big challenges, the State has been making continuous efforts to control the spread of the pandemic. UP has the fundamental duty to provide medical health facilities to the best of its abilities, and the Petitioner State is doing so,” the petition said.
The state government further submitted that the High Court order “effectively ventures into the arena of governance by breaching the salutary principles of separation of powers between the judiciary and executive, deserves to be set aside.”
In his submissions, Mehta said to the top court that the state government took certain policy decisions only after taking expert advice and that the High Court may not have the necessary expertise regarding the same.
Considering the arguments of the Uttar Pradesh government, the Supreme Court proceeded to stay the controversial directions issued by the Allahabad High Court on May 17.