Unhappy with the interpretation of the court orders for gaining political mileage and the debates going on social media and other platforms, the Gujarat High Court has remarked that people who cannot extend their helping hand amid the coronavirus crisis have no right to criticise the state government. The court said: “If the State Government would not have been doing anything, as alleged, then probably, by now, we all would have been dead”.
The remarks came in connection with the hearing of a suo motu public interest litigation initiated by the court related to the measures undertaken by the state government to contain the spread of the deadly virus.
The court also said the orders passed in the PIL were being used for “oblique motive”. It clarified that the PIL is not meant to advance political gain and to seek any political mileage. It also said the PIL should never be made a political battle.
The division bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice JB Pardiwala remarked: “The COVID 19 crisis is a humanitarian crisis, not a political crisis. Hence, it is imperative that no one politicise this issue. The uncertainty about COVID-19 and its impact on our economy makes it even more important that the government does the right thing in terms of its policies. In these extraordinary circumstances, the role of the opposition is equally important. There is no denying that the role of the opposition is to hold the government to account, but in times like this, a helping hand would be more beneficial than a critical tongue”.
The bench also said by politicising the issue, one would downplay the widespread suffering the pandemic has caused. It remarked that people are least concerned about political ideologies and rivalries when their lives are at stake.
It said: “By far most democratic countries that have been successful in dealing with this pandemic have one big thing in common—a spirit of cooperation between political parties to fight a common unknown enemy, the virus. A similar sense of cooperation, understanding, and constructive criticism can be powerful weapons for the Gujarat State to fight this pandemic”.