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No clampdown on citizens voicing their grievance on social media regarding COVID-19, warns SC

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The Supreme Court on Friday said that there should be no clampdown on citizens for voicing their concerns and grievances on social media regarding COVID-19. The court, during the hearing of pleas concerning the prevailing COVID-19 situation in the country, said that it would consider it a “contempt of court” if any citizen is harassed for making a plea on social media or media for oxygen and beds, etc.

The bench of Justice DY Chandrachud said, “I am flagging an issue of grave concern. If citizens communicate their grievances on social media or news, there is no reason to presume that’s not correct. There cannot be a clampdown on information.”

Contempt of court

The bench further remarked, “Let a strong message go across to all states that we will consider it a contempt of this court if any citizen is harassed for making a plea on social media or media for making a plea for oxygen or beds, etc.” The apex court said that authorities should not presume that grievances raised on the internet by citizens are false.

The order comes days after Facebook got entangled in controversy for barring posts with the hashtag #ResignModi. However, after outrage over the issue, Facebook said it was done by “mistake” and it was not ordered by the government to do so.

Also Read: Over 3.86 lakh COVID cases, 3,498 deaths in India in a day

Last week, Twitter confirmed the deletion of several tweets “in response to a legal request from the government”. The posts were deleted for spreading misinformation on COVID, government sources had said.

India must follow national immunization model for COVID-19, says SC

With vaccination for all adults all set to begin from May 1, the apex court questioned the government on why the pricing of vaccine is different for the Centre and the states. The court said, “Why is the government not buying 100 per cent of doses produced in this time? Why should there be two prices for the centre and the states… what is the rationale?”

“Pricing issue is extraordinarily serious. How will poor people find money to get vaccinated? We cannot have this private sector model,” the court said. It added that India must follow the national immunisation model that is being followed in the country since independence.

As per the new system, 50 per cent doses of Covishield and Covaxin will be procured by the Centre at a rate of Rs 150 per jab, whereas the state governments will have to cough up Rs 300 and Rs 400 for the same, respectively. Private hospitals will have to buy the vaccines at Rs 600 and Rs 1,200 per shot.

 

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