The Supreme Court on Friday said that High Courts should avoid passing orders that are “impossible to implement”, Live Law reported. A division bench of Justices Vineet Saran and BR Gavai made the observation while putting a stay on directions issued by the Allahabad High Court earlier this week in relation to Covid-19 management in Uttar Pradesh.
On May 17, the Allahabad High Court had remarked that the health infrastructure in smaller cities and villages of Uttar Pradesh was “Ram Bharose” (at God’s mercy). Besides, the court had also suggested that each hospital with more than 30 beds should compulsorily have an oxygen generation plant. It added that each second and third tier town in Uttar Pradesh should be given at least 20 ambulances with intensive care unit facilities. For villages, it suggested at least two ambulances.
On Friday, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, approached the Supreme Court on behalf of the state of Uttar Pradesh to submit that the directions, though well-meaning, were difficult to implement. He said that the High Court had failed to appreciate that Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state in the country with more than 24 crore citizens.
“Health infrastructure can never be ignored,” Mehta said, according to Bar and Bench. “But these directions are impossible to comply with...Courts should also have some judicial restraint and not pass orders which are difficult to be implemented.”
Mehta also contended that the order breached the separation of powers between the judiciary and the executive. He made this submission referring to the High Court’s suggestion that the government should obtain vaccine manufacturing formula from companies to ramp up production. The solicitor general said that courts should refrain from passing directions in policy matters, especially when they can have “trans-state and even trans-national ramifications”, Live Law reported.
Taking note of Mehta’s submissions, the Supreme Court said that it appreciated the efforts of Allahabad and other High Courts for taking up matters related to management of the Covid-19 situation.
“However, while dealing with such matters and the concerns the courts may have for patients and general public and the anxiety of courts to give utmost relief to those suffering...Sometimes, unwittingly the courts overstep and pass certain orders that are not capable of being implemented,” the Supreme Court added.
While the Supreme Court stayed the orders passed by the Allahabad high Court, it added that the Uttar Pradesh government should treat them as advisory guidelines and should take all possible endeavours to implement them.
The court also refused to cancel the “Ram Bharose” comment, saying such observations need to be treated as advice, according to NDTV.