A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud, Vikram Nath and Hima Kohli said the petitioner NGO 'Abhinav Bharat Congress' and its president Pankaj K Phadnis should approach the government for the constitution of the international task force.
The Supreme Court Monday said there are many articles and a lot of literature in the open on the origin of COVID-19 Delta variant and it would rather focus on dealing with the pandemic than delve into conspiracy theories.
The top court made this observation while refusing to entertain a petition seeking direction to Centre to set up an international task force, composed of national and international experts (including those from China) in consultation with this court, for finding scientific answers about the Delta variant’s origin and the extent to which it was responsible for the second wave of COVID-19.
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A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud, Vikram Nath and Hima Kohli said the petitioner NGO ‘Abhinav Bharat Congress’ and its president Pankaj K Phadnis should approach the government for the constitution of the international task force.
You should approach the government with your prayer and make a representation. We don’t have jurisdiction over citizens of China or for that matter citizens of the USA. If they want to constitute a task force to find out the origin they can do so, we cannot do, the bench said.
Phadnis said the origin of the Delta variant of COVID-19 is still a mystery and some experts have said that it originated in Amravati, Maharashtra, while other experts have said different things.
He said that from April to June 2021, more than 2,50,000 Indians — by official count, while credible reports put this number higher by a factor of 15 — have lost their lives due to COVID-19.
We know there are a lot of articles and literature in the open with regard to the Delta variant of COVID-19 but we would like to focus on dealing with the pandemic here rather than to devolve into conspiracy theories, the bench said.
Phadnis, appearing in-person, said the court may record in the order that the government may consider his representation.
No, we will not say any such thing in the order. You can always go to the government. They are there for the citizens of the country, the bench said, while disposing of the petition.
Phadnis has said in the plea that during the second wave of COVID-19, there were many days when more than 4,00,000 cases and thousands of deaths were recorded. Even today more than 40,000 cases are being recorded with hundreds of deaths per day. Grim images of wailing relatives of patients, ever burning pyres and dead bodies floating in the river have come to forever sear the consciousness of any sane person, the plea said.
It said that Indians are presently barred from entry in most countries across the world including UK and USA, where many Indians live causing untold misery to their near and dear ones in India. There is no proper knowledge in the public domain with respect to what precisely caused this massive continuing tragedy. Lack of COVID appropriate behaviour, large religious festivals, assembly elections, lackadaisical approach of Centre to procure vaccines have been cited as reasons, the plea said.
However, there is yet no all India scientific data to prove that the so-called second wave of the pandemic that caused death and devastation in India was dominated by this Delta variant of COVID-19, it said.