Supreme Court allows Harish Salve to withdraw as amicus, raps some senior lawyers for imputing motives to it

The Bench granted time to the Centre to file response in the case and posted it for hearing on April 27.

The Supreme Court on Friday allowed senior advocate Harish Salve to withdraw as amicus curiae for the suo motu case related to distribution of essential supplies and services, including oxygen and drugs, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice S. A. Bobde, who is demitting office as the CJI on Friday itself, rapped some senior advocates for making statements without reading its order passed on Thursday and observed that it did not stop high courts from hearing cases related to COVID-19 management in the country.

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The Bench, also comprising Justices L. N. Rao and S. R. Bhat, granted time to the Centre to file response in the case and posted it for hearing on April 27.

“You have imputed motives to us without reading our order,” the Bench told senior advocate Dushyant Dave, who was appearing in the matter.

“We are also pained at reading what some senior lawyers have to say on Mr. Salve’s appointment as amicus in the matter,” the Bench said, adding that it was a “collective decision” of all the judges at the Bench.

Mr. Salve said it is a “very sensitive” matter and he did not want the case to be decided under the shadow that he knew the CJI from school and college days.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta requested Mr. Salve not to withdraw from the case as the amicus on the ground that no one should succumb to such pressure tactics.

Taking note of the “grim” situation created by the massive surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths, the Supreme Court had on Thursday said it expects the Centre to come out with a “national plan” to deal with proper distribution of oxygen and essential drugs for the patients.


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