The government has filed an affidavit listing out the measures it has taken to control and fight the Covid-19 pandemic in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in the Supreme Court.
The PIL was filed by advocate Alakh Alok Srivastav, who sought information from the government regarding the steps taken to provide food, water and shelter to migrant workers during the lockdown.
The 21-day country-wide lockdown was announced by the government on March 24.
A two-judge bench comprising chief justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde and justice L Nageshwar Rao heard the petition.
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In the affidavit filed by the government, it said it had set up an Economic Response Task Force chaired by minister of finance Nirmala Sitharaman, and issued advisories and orders through the Ministry of Home Affairs and other government departments to maintain the supply of food and essential goods in the country.
The affidavit, which was undersigned by home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, also stated that all states and union territories were strictly required to comply with the directives, orders and advisories, failing which action would be taken in accordance with law.
The affidavit also asked the apex court to issue a directive stating that no news media outlet and social media platform could print, publish or telecast information without ascertaining “true factual position from the separate mechanism provided by the central government”. The affidavit added that the move would help prevent public panic.