PIL filed in SC seeks declaration of financial emergency amid corona pandemic

Aman Kumar

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New Delhi (27/03/2020) : A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday seeking declaration of financial emergency under Article 360 of the Constitution due to nationwide lockdown amidst rising cases of coronavirus.

The PIL (filed against Ministry of Home Affairs) by Centre for Accountability and Systemic Change (CASC), filed through Advocate Virag Gupta, claimed that the divergence in steps taken by various state governments have led to confusion and lawlessness in the country and a unified command between central and state governments is required to deal with the situation.

“This is the biggest emergency in independent India and it must be addressed as per constitutional provisions through unified command between central and state governments. This will be required not only to defeat the war against coronavirus but also in the recovery of the Indian economy after lockdown is over,” the plea read.

As per the petitioner, after the 21 days lockdown was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 24th March, different states and police authorities took independent action under the Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in the guise of orders issued by the central government which “amounts to constitutional fraud”.

The CASC has urged the Supreme Court to pass orders for:

i) Necessary directions for suspension of the collection of utility bills (Electricity, Water, Gas, Telephone, Internet) and EMIs payments liable to be paid during Lockdown period

ii) Direct the State police and local authorities to strictly comply with home ministry instructions so that essential services are not disrupted

The petition has also made a request for urgent hearing through video-conferencing by the apex court.

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