Wednesday, April 1: The Supreme court on Wednesday adjourned for two weeks hearing of a plea seeking declaration of financial emergency in the country, under Article 360 of the Constitution, in the wake of the lockdown imposed to check the spread of COVID-19.

Hearing the case via video-conferencing, a two-judge bench comprising Justices L Nageshwar Rao and S Abdul Nazeer remarked “such a petition cannot be heard in today’s situation”.

The plea was filed by Think Tank Centre for Accountability and Systemic Change (CASC) and says that a declaration of financial emergency would result in unified commands by the Centre and states which can address the crisis more efficiently. 

The petitioner has claimed that differences in orders by various states and the Centre has created confusion in an already difficult situation.

The plea said, “Divergence of steps taken by different authorities are causing confusion and lawlessness (which) in no way can be solution to a problem as grave as COVID-19. Due to the lockdown, the economic activities have come to a standstill. Hence, it is most humbly submitted that financial emergency needs to be imposed in the country under Article 360 of the Constitution of India.”

It has also sought a direction to the Centre to suspend collection of utility bills like that of electricity, water, gas, telephone, internet and EMI payments during the period of lockdown.

State police and authorities should be directed to strictly comply with the directions of the Union home ministry so that essential services are not disrupted, it added.

The plea added that the prevailing situation might be the “biggest emergency” in independent India and it must be addressed as per constitutional provisions through unified command between the Centre and state governments.

“This use of emergency provisions of Constitution is required not only to defeat the war against coronavirus but also in recovery of the Indian Economy after lockdown is over,” it said.

https://www.livemint.com/news/india/sc-defers-hearing-of-plea-seeking-declaration-of-financial-emergency-in-country-11585744803517.html

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