The Supreme Court of India, on Friday, issued ex-parte order in a special leave petition filed by the Central Government against the orders passed by the High Courts of Allahabad and Kerala, which had, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, ordered the State Governments against taking coercive steps in certain cases, including those relating to revenue collection.
In a writ petition filed in the Allahabad HC, the bench of Justices Ramesh Sinha and Ajit Kumar had directed the State Government to issue necessary circulars or directives to the District Magistrates and other government agencies not to take coercive measures which may force them to approach courts. The order also restrained the process of auctions to prevent public gatherings. Similarly, the Kerala HC had, in a petition, passed general directions to government departments (including tax authorities) and even banks/FIs suspending recovery proceedings and taking of any coercive steps with April 6.
This led the Centre to approach the SC seeking stay against what it termed as “blanket orders”. The Centre contended that such orders could seriously disrupt the revenue collections of the government. The Solicitor General, Mr. Tushar Mehta, while mentioning the petition, assured the court that the Centre would come out with a mechanism to address the issue without causing hardship. The SC, thereupon, issued notice in the SLP.