The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the May 26 direction of the Telangana High Court which had asked the state authorities to conduct COVID-19 test on dead bodies before they are released from the hospitals.
Separately, the apex court also stayed the direction passed on June 8 by the high court which had said that if its directives were not implemented by the authorities then it would have no other option but to issue contempt notice for "intentional and willful disobedience" of its orders.
Both the matters came up for hearing through video-conferencing before an apex court bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, SK Kaul and MR Shah.
The bench agreed to hear the separate appeals and issued notice to those on whose petitions the high court had passed the May 26 and June 8 directions.
"Issue notice. In the meantime, the following direction passed by the High Court shall remain stayed: 'Therefore, this court directs that dead bodies being released by the hospital, by way of abundant caution, will have to be tested for the presence of corona virus,” the bench said in its order.
Dealing with the plea against the June 8 directive, the top court observed that the direction passed was not only "pre-mature but uncalled for at that stage."
"Issue notice. In the meantime, the direction passed in the order dated June 8, 2020 to the following effect was not only pre-mature but uncalled for at that stage," the bench said in its order.
The bench also noted in its order the direction passed by the high court which had said, "It is indeed trite to state that if the directions issued by this court are not implemented by the respondents, this court eventually would have no other option, but to issue contempt notice to the respondents for their intentional and willful disobedience of the orders passed by this court."
"This statement is being made as a warning to the respondents, not to ignore the directions of this court. For, neither the majesty of the law, nor the majesty of the high court, can be ignored by the respondents," the high court had said.
The high court had passed these directions while hearing the pleas which have raised issues related to COVID-19.