The Supreme Court on Monday said a mere direction to comply with directions is not enough and the steps taken towards compliance of the directions have to be brought on record. The apex court remarks came during the hearing of a suo moto case on the proper treatment of Covid-19 patients and dignified handling of dead bodies in the hospitals.
A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and M R Shah said “By order dated June 19, 2020, we had issued 11 directions which were to be complied by the states/UTs and steps were also to be taken by the Union of India. An affidavit has been filed on behalf of the Union of India, which does not give the details of compliance of the directions except that orders have been issued to comply the directions.”
The Supreme Court on June 19, after taking on record status reports, issued multiple directions and guidelines on aspects of Covid-19 patients’ care, hospital management, testing, discharge policy, infrastructure. The apex court also directed on the implementation of these directions.
The bench noted that mere direction to comply with the directions is not enough. The steps taken towards compliance of the directions have to be brought on record, said the top court.
The bench noted that the state governments/Union Territories have not filed affidavits giving details of compliance of various directions issued by the apex court on June 19. “We are of the view that the Chief Secretaries of the States have to take steps to ensure that directions issued by this Court in order dated 19th June, 2020 are complied with”, said the bench.
The top court also sought an appropriate compliance report to be filed. “We grant two weeks’ time to the states/UTs to file an appropriate compliance affidavit. The Union of India may also file detailed affidavit within two weeks giving the details of the various compliance of the directions which were issued by this court. List the matter after two weeks”, said the top court.
At the beginning of the hearing on Monday, the bench noted that most state governments have failed to file a response to the directions given by the court in its order on June 19.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, contended that some time was required to file a proper reply.
The apex court on June 11 had taken suo moto cognizance of reports of alleged mishandling of dead bodies and ill-treatment of persons infected with Covid-19.