Calcutta High Court: A Division Bench of Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan, CJ. and Dipankar Datta, J. invoked the extraordinary jurisdiction with regard to a matter relating to grim state of affairs in the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
“Access to justice is multifaceted assistance to the people. It is not confined to mere access to courts. It spreads out and trickles down multifarious inalienable necessities for human existence and environment management. Provisions to support cohesive and comprehensive deliverance of matters connected with life is among the guarantees, including fundamental rights, in the Constitution.”
Court directed Union of India and UT of Andaman and Nicobar Islands through Chief Secretary to respond immediately.
Court also stated that having regard to the exigencies of circumstances proceedings of this case will continue utilising WhatsApp, e-conferencing, e-mails, etc. as modes of communication and judicial management for the time being.
Bench added that,
It would appear that there are orders issued by the administration for smooth distribution of essential commodities and medicines to the island. However, what is happening on the ground is the real question.
In view of the above, a Monitoring Committee is to be constituted headed by the District Judge, with the Judicial Secretary, the Superintendent of Police, South Andamans and the President of the Bar Association, Port Blair, as members.
Committee is directed to make an overall assessment of all relevant factors including supply of essential commodities and essential articles, medicines, fuel and availability of other support mechanisms for the people of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The case will be considered by the Court on 31-03-2020. [In Re : COVID 19 – Relief and services at the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, 2020 SCC OnLine Cal 694 , decided on 28-03-2020]