The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a plea seeking directions to the Centre, Ministry of Social Justice, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and Ministry of Law and Justice, to file a case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) seeking for 600 billion US dollars in damages from the People's Republic of China for spreading the COVID-19 pandemic.
A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & Dinesh Maheshwari refused to entertain the plea but asked the petitioner to make representation before the appropriate authority.
The plea, filed by a resident of Madurai KK Ramesh through Advocate Jaya Sukin, states that the People's Republic of China has deliberately created a biological weapon against India to be leaked into public places in order to kill Indian people and destroy the Indian economy.
It is further contended that the virus is extremely dangerous and aggressive in nature, designed to mutate from person to person and spread very quickly and early. Additionally, many reputable scientists and experts have allegedly come to the conclusion that the crisis was initiated when a Chinese biological weapon facility released the virus into India.
The plea then refers to the miseries of migrant workers, who were stranded and suffered starvation, loss of jobs, lack of shelter and security, thereby leaving them effectively trapped in a dire situation. Lakhs of people had also been forced to walk for miles to reach home due to the lockdown which had been imposed in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The disastrous impact on the economy due to the national lockdown has been discussed in the plea, with the assumption that the number of poor people who are below the poverty line will increase. Further, it has also been stated that the World Bank has warned India that the pandemic will hit the country very hard and any significant gains vide poverty alleviation measures will be wiped out.
"That Petitioner states MOODY'S has projected India's economic growth at 0.2% in 2020, marking a sharp downward revision compared to its projection of 2.5% in March this year. That MOODY said economic costs of COVID-19 crisis amid the near shutdown of the Indian economy are accumulating rapidly."
The petition also raises the issue as to how the virus, despite originating in Wuhan, China, has not spread to other Chinese cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Wenzhou, but has managed to travel thousands of kilometres to India and other countries. This allegedly sheds a light on the credibility of the virus spreading from bats. Therefore, claims by China on how the virus cannot be manmade have been stated in the plea to be a big lie meant to mislead India and other countries.
In light of the fact that one citizen cannot file a petition before the ICJ and the same can only be done by the States as per Article 93(1) of the UN Charter, the plea seeks for directions to the Respondents to file a case against the People's Republic of China for a compensation of 600 Billion US dollars.