On Tuesday, the Supreme Court asked the petitioner to withdraw a writ petition challenging the Constitutional validity of Epidemics Act and suggested that the petitioner should approach the concerned High Court.
At the outset, Hon’ble Justice DY Chandrachud questioned the nature of writ petition and asked the petitioner in person Mr Harshal Mirashi why he did not approach the Bombay High Court.
The Counsel replied that he is challenging the Epidemics Act and the circular dated 15th March, which is a Central Act.
Hon’ble Justice Chandrachud replied that High Courts have the jurisdiction in respect to Central Acts and there was no need to approach the Supreme Court.
Then the Counsel requested the Court to make a direction to approach the High Court, but the Bench refused and told the Counsel to approach the appropriate authority as per law. The Court further noted if they will pass a direction, then it would imply that there was substance in the petition. The Bench also clarified that every High Court in the country has the power to strike down a law.
Justice Chandrachud stated that even though the Supreme Court has the power to strike down a law, the High Courts also have that power and so the Counsel should move the High Court.
Undeterred, the Counsel submitted that based on his research, only the Supreme Court had the power to strike down laws.
In reply, Justice Chandrachud told the Counsel to go to the Delhi High Court library and refer to DD Basu’s Shorter Constitution where he will find that even the High Courts have the power to strike down laws.
Hon’ble Justice Indira Banerjee and Hon’ble Justice Chandrachud informed the petitioner that they themselves had struck down laws when they were High Court judges.
The Court further noted that an efficacious and alternative remedy already existed before the High Court under Article 226.
Hon’ble Court granted liberty to the petitioner to withdraw the plea and approach the High Court.