High courts should avoid 'off-the-cuff' remarks, says Supreme Court during Covid hearing

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Apr 30, 2021, 07:44 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

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High courts of Madras and Delhi have been critical of Central government and various authorities for the way they have been handling Covid pandemic in India

Supreme Court of India said on Friday that high courts in India should avoid "off-the-cuff" remarks during hearings as they may have serious ramifications.

Supreme Court's advice came during hearings on COVID-19 related pleas. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Centre and the Bihar government respectively said during the hearing that such remarks (from the high courts) gave impression as if authorities were doing nothing.

High courts of Madras and Delhi have been critical of Central government and various authorities for the way they have been handling Covid pandemic in India.

A bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud, hearing the suo motu case on COVID-19 management in the country, took note of the submissions of the Centre and Bihar government and cautioned restraint to High Courts.

"Even when we are criticising a judgement of a High Court, we do not say exactly what is in our heart and we exercise a degree of restraint. We would only expect that as freedom has been given to the High Courts to deal with these issues, certain of-the-cuff remarks, which are not necessary may be avoided," said the bench which also comprised Justices L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat.

Government officials, including those who are COVID-19 infected, are working tirelessly to deal with the pandemic situation, the lawyers said.

Castigating officers on duty is "very demoralising", Kumar said.

The bench said judges also know that this is a new time where, every word said by them become part of social media.

"All we can say that we expect a degree of respect and restraint", the bench said.

The top court said particularly, in sensitive matters, it tended to exercise some caution and restraint.

"It is not because we are fearful of our remarks. Of course, we are independent. It is only because of the serious ramifications which off-the-cuff remarks about private citizens may have," Justice Chandrachud said.

"Sometimes judges make some observations to elicit proper response from lawyers, which should not be considered as those remarks against anyone," it said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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