New Delhi [India], Mar 26 : A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was on Thursday filed in the Supreme Court by Centre for Accountability and Systemic Change (CASC), a think tank, seeking its directions for notification of financial emergency under Article 360 of the Constitution.
The PIL, filed by advocate Virag Gupta, sought the apex court's directions to "safeguard the Rule of Law in India, which is being threatened by arbitrary actions of states and local authorities", during the menace of coronavirus.
The plea sought a direction for notification of financial emergency under Article 360 of the Constitution, which pertains to the provisions of financial emergency.
Gupta has sought an urgent hearing into the matter through video conferencing.
The petition said that almost all the fundamental rights such as freedom of movement, most rights under Article 21 and various other fundamental rights have been practically suspended during the lockdown.
"The closure of courts affects the right to get justice. It is submitted that this requires the imposition of emergency as per the Constitution, and not an order under Disaster Management Act, 2005," the plea said.
It said that "this is the biggest emergency in independent India" and it must be addressed as per Constitutional provisions through unified command between central and state governments.
This will be required not only to defeat the war against coronavirus but also in the recovery of the Indian economy after lockdown is over, the petition said.
The petition further contended that even after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a countrywide lockdown for 21 days, for which orders were issued on March 24 by the MHA, different states and police authorities are continuing to take their own action under Section 144 of the Code in the guise of orders issued by the central government which amounts to constitutional fraud.
It also sought directions for suspension of the collection of utility bills and directions to the state police and local authorities to strictly comply with home ministry instructions so that essential services are not disrupted.
( With inputs from ANI )