Court Case Filed on Modi Govt’s Mismanagement of Covid Pandemic

President Donald Trump and PM Narendra Modi at the Namaste Trump event in India on February 24, 2020. Photo: PIB
President Donald Trump and PM Narendra Modi at the Namaste Trump event in India on February 24, 2020. Photo: PIB

As the Indian courts do not dare to question the decisions of the Modi government, Bhushan’s PIL is not expected to deliver any meaningful result.

By Rakesh Raman

A human rights lawyer Prashant Bhushan has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) case in the Supreme Court of India to get the accountability fixed for the mishandling of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in India.

He has accused the Indian government headed by Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi of gross mismanagement of the pandemic and asked the court to use its power under Article 32 to appoint an independent inquiry commission headed by a retired judge to find out the administrative lapses.

With over 2.25 million reported cases, India has already become the epicenter of the pandemic in the world. The Indian government is either hiding the actual data or releasing misleading recovery figures of patients instead of reporting the number of deaths.

In a video interview for The Wire news service, Bhushan said that the government’s mishandling of the contagion is so serious and so negligent that it borders on the criminal act. He added that the Modi government’s response is “totally irresponsible.”

In the interview, Bhushan explained the reasons why he believes the government is guilty of “gross mismanagement” of the pandemic.

Among other reasons, he cited the ‘Namaste Trump’ event that Modi had spearheaded by inviting U.S. President Donald Trump to India on February 24 when the virus was already spreading in the U.S. as well as India. As over 100,000 people participated in the Trump event, Bhushan said the government was guilty of gross mismanagement and negligence.

The lawyer-activist also argued that Modi had unilaterally imposed lockdown on March 24 without due consultation with experts or state governments, adding that even the National Task Force, appointed by the government on March 18, was not consulted.

As the Indian courts do not dare to question the decisions of the Modi government, Bhushan’s PIL is not expected to deliver any meaningful result. In all probability, Bhushan’s demand for setting up an inquiry commission will not be accepted. And if the commission is set up, its report will be dumped while no inquiry report can challenge Modi’s decisions.

The PIL about Covid pandemic mismanagement is a step taken in desperation by Bhushan. As he is a fierce critic of PM Modi and the Supreme Court, he keeps complaining about Modi and the court. Most of his activism is limited to tweets and retweets which are hardly read by people.

Currently, Bhushan is facing contempt of court proceedings in at least two cases in which he had commented about the chief justice of India and alleged that a slew of former judges were corrupt.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society. He also creates and publishes a number of digital publications and research reports on different subjects. These publications include the “Covid Health Bulletin” that covers global coronavirus news and views.

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Rakesh Raman