Executive Is Best Equipped To Handle Covid-19 Crisis: CJI

New Delhi: Chief Justice of India, S.A. Bobde on Monday said that a disaster or an epidemic can be best handled by the executive.

Talking to the press about how the judiciary is tackling the menace of the coronavirus outbreak, the Chief Justice said: “Men, money, material – how it should be deployed, prioritized it is for the executive to decide.”

He said that in times of crisis, three organs of government – parliament, executive and judiciary — should act in harmony, with an aim to get over the crisis. Citing hearing of pleas through video conferencing, he insisted that the apex court is doing whatever is possible during this crisis. “Video conferencing proceedings is here to stay, but it will not entirely replace the courts,” he added.

On the aspect of the judiciary in saving people’s rights, Chief Justice Bobde said undoubtedly executive can’t allow the lives of citizens to be endangered, and when that happens, surely the court will intervene.

Emphasising on the role of the judiciary in protecting people’s rights, he said: “We have given directions to the government to provide shelter, food and psychological counselling. We are doing whatever we can.”

Responding to the allegation on the judiciary toeing the government’s line during Covid-19 crisis, the CJI said in all cases relating to COVID-19, the apex court had asked the executive what steps have been taken, especially in the matter pertaining to migrant workers.

“It is sub judice matter. But we have done whatever we can. We are not on the field,” he said.

He insisted that the judges in the top court are not taking rest, but, instead, are working and disposing of the cases. “We work 210 days in a year as per our calendar,” he added.

On the nature of cases coming before the apex court, the Chief Justice said the pressure of litigation on courts has reduced.

“In January 2020 there were 205 cases filed daily in the Supreme Court. But in April, only 305 cases have been filed through e-filing. Cause for action not happening. Thieves are not committing crime. Crime rate has come down. Police action has also gone down. Generally things important for litigation not taking place,” he said.