“These arm chair intellectuals do not recognize the nation's effort”, SG Mehta on criticism of Centre’s handling of COVID-19 migrant crisis
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“These arm chair intellectuals do not recognize the nation's effort”, SG Mehta on criticism of Centre’s handling of COVID-19 migrant crisis

Bar & Bench

Proverbial shots were fired during today's hearing of the suo motu COVID-19 migrant crisis matter before the Supreme Court, as Solicitor General Tushar Mehta called out "prophets of doom" for criticising the Centre and the Supreme Court.

After making submissions on the Centre's efforts to ameliorate the suffering of migrant workers amid the COVID-19 lockdown, SG Mehta went on to make some points. He said,

"Centre is doing a lot to prevent COVID-19 but there are prophets of doom in our country who only spread negativity, negativity, negativity. These arm chair intellectuals do not recognize the nation's effort."

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta

Mehta also made a reference to the letter sent by 21 senior lawyers urging the Supreme Court to take cognizance of the migrant crisis, saying that these people were "earning in crores".

The Vulture and the Little Girl
The Vulture and the Little Girl Wikipedia

The SG went on to cite a Pulitzer-winning photograph of a vulture waiting for a panic-stricken child to die, taken in Sudan in 1983. Referring to the photographer, Mehta said,

"A journalist had asked him (photographer) what happened to the child. He said. 'I don’t know, I had to return home'. Then the reporter asked him, 'How many vultures were there?' He said one. The reporter said. 'No. There were two. One was holding the camera'."

"If a handful of people want to control the situation, then it will become an ADM Jabalpur moment. All these people wanting to intervene need to apply the vulture and child story. What have they contributed?"

SG Tushar Mehta

He further suggested that all these intervenors be made to file an affidavit showing how they have contributed to the situation. He said,

"Don't let anyone use this platform to become a political platform. Let the impleadment applicant file affidavit on what their contribution is."

The SG also accused high courts of running "parallel governments" during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Later, when Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal appeared for Delhi Shramik Sangathan, SG Mehta said,

"Please do not make it a political platform. Before addressing, please speak about your contribution."

Sibal retorted,

"A lot! Don't make it personal."

Mehta replied,

"I am only speaking about your client."

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