The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to entertain a PIL seeking issuance of directions to the Union of India to make a representation to the People's Republic of China & the World Health Organisation (WHO) to make available, relevant information related to Covid19.
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, SK Kaul & MR Shah orally remarked that the petition shall attract costs but allowed it to he withdrawn.
Bench remarked while dismissing the petition as withdrawn: "What kind of a petition is this?"
Filed by an organisation named "Doctors For You" through Advocate On Record Abhishek Singh (& drawn by Advocates Simar Suri, Aditya Giri, Dipika Jai, Shivani Dewalla), the plea urges that China must make relevant information related to Coronavirus public as the Chinese City, Wuhan was "Ground-Zero" for the deadly contagion.
"this writ petition is being filed urging the upon Indian Government to make a representation to the People's Republic of China and the WFIO seeking relevant information with regard to origin of Corona Virus at Ground Zero, various matrixes of reproduction rate of virus, its various mutations. Getting this vital information is not a question of delicate diplomatic nuances but a question of life and death"
The plea states that the virus had put at stake, the Right to Life guaranteed by the Indian Constitution and a representation on behalf of India calling for details on the novel virus is pertinent as it will help the "Indian medical scientists and doctors to research and have better chances of developing of Antidote".
As such, the petitioner avers that it is pertinent for India to know the ground facts for the "protection of both life and livelihood".
The plea states that the Government of India is "constitutionally bound" to coordinate with appropriate international authorities and foreign countries for "effective implementation of the Section 35(2)(g) of the Disaster Management Act and also to preserve Article 21 in letter and spirit as well as to act in accordance with the Directive Principle of State policy".
While narrating the sequence of events that led the outbreak of Coronavirus across the world, petitioner highlights that while in China, the virus only hit one city, after which it was successfully contained, other countries struggled.
"Before locking down Chinese authorities allowed 5 million people to leave the city of Wuhan, out of which most people were bound to travel to International destination. By the time WHO finally declared the virus as pandemic on 11.03.2020, it had killed more than 4,000 people and infected more than 1,00,000 people in at least 114 countries around the world" - Plea
In light of this, the petition also highlights the innate need to "know the ground facts" related to the origin of the virus from China and how it jumped to the human population so as to come out with an effective vaccine.
Additionally, the plea calls for a probe by representatives of the most affected countries into China to assess the severity and dynamics of Covid19 as well as the Who for its delay in notifying the world community of the pandemic and allegedly supporting an "underplay effect of the pandemic statistics".
The plea states,
"WHO by taking a backseat in alerting the world community at large acted in direct contravention of Intemational Health Regulations which state that the organization may in case of a public health emergency without the consent of the host party pass on vital information at its disposal for prevention of a larger harm"
The plea also lays out that China has failed to stand by international tenets of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, Vienna Conventions on the Law of treaties as well as principles laid down in the Corfu Channel Case (International Court of Justice).
Furthermore, the plea states that China is under a moral obligation to provide assistance under "Guidance for managing ethical issues in infectious diseases" which requires "rapid data sharing of information related to the novel Corona Virus".