Taking stock of inefficient measures of the Government for containing the COVID19 pandemic, a plea has been filed in the Supreme Court for its immediate intervention in the ongoing crisis.
The Petitioners have averred that the "Pandemic has raged beyond any virtue of expectations" on one hand and the aids to curb the devastating financial & social consequences are insufficient on the other.
According to the petitioners, the Centre and concerned authorities are unequipped and incapacitated to ensure well being of Indian citizens as repercussions of a nationwide lockdown were not analysed before implementation. This has left the general public in dire straits.
"Because the Respondents have remained ignorant of the situation which has in its eventuality led to the nation standstill in all respects and have made the general public lose faith which is also of pertinent importance to be immediately restored for the pandemic to be curtailed effectively" – the petition states.
Emphasizing on the ignorance & lack of apathy of the Government towards a large majority of the country which lives on streets or in rented homes, the petitioners have based their PIL on the lack of policies by an "inexperienced" government to provide for its citizens.
The petitioner has also cited the lack of Personal Protective Gear (PPE's) to personnel working at the frontlines and avers that the lack thereof shall lead to an inevitable surge in the outbreak of COVID19.
Furthermore, it is stated that citizen of India from numerous backgrounds, including the middle-class, small shop owners, MSME owners & corporates are facing the wrath of the lockdown, without any relief from the Government.
In this backdrop, the petitioners have, inter alia sought the following prayers:-
1) Directions to the government to make basic necessities & medical facilities available to all citizens, irrespective of their financial status;
2) Mobile vendors must be deployed for each residential area for purposes of delivery of essential items;
3) Build shelters & accommodations in public gardens & stadiums by converting them into places of food & shelter;
4) Issue guidelines for in the context that no person shall be terminated from their jobs regardless of them working-from-home or not;
5) Transfer INR 10,000 to all Income Tax Groups of the country as a "short-term loan", recoverable in the next FY;
6) Mandatory access to medical equipment's and PPE's to every person working at the frontline, regardless of their profile or rank;
7) Enforce moratorium or stay on recovery of all due EMIs payable in the form of consumer and business loans while the pandemic persists;
8) Completely waive off interests payable by small enterprises to banks and stay the payment of credit card bills till complete eradication of the pandemic;
9) Waive off all kinds of penalty on the filling of GST or Income Tax returns or Advance tax returns;
10) Minimise exchange of currency notes and run awareness programs as to how the virus can be prevalent on surfaces;
The petition has been filed by Sumit Mehta and Vikrant Narulla against the Central Government, the Union Finance Ministry and the Reserve Bank of India.
Click here to download the Petition