A bench of Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and MR Shah were hearing the suo motu case pertaining to the plight of migrant workers amid Coronavirus induced lockdown.
The bench took note of the plea by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (PIL), headed by advocate Prashant Bhushan seeking drawing up of a national COVID plan. The PIL also raised the issue of the existence of PM CARES Fund while NDRF was already in existence under the Disaster Management Act.
Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, representing the petitioner, argued that PM CARES Fund lacks transparency. He also questioned why there is no national plan during the time of COVID.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing an NGO, argued before the bench on the issues originating in the absence of a national plan to tackle COVID-19 pandemic. Sibal cited the Constitution’s section 21 regarding a district plan, where minimum requirements regarding water, shelter etc. need to be provided.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, argued that the National Disaster Management Plan, from 2019, included biological disaster. He also argued that during that time there was no COVID-19. He said Sibal’s argument was factually wrong.
The centre informed the apex court that there are several funds for relief works. PM CARES is also one such with voluntary donations.
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