SC says every HC has power to strike down central laws, junks plea against Epidemic Act

The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to entertain a plea challenging the constitutional validity of the Epidemic Act and suggested the petitioner that High Court can be moved on the issue, as they also have powers to strike down central Acts.

A bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and comprising Justices Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee said told the petitioner, “What kind of petition you have filed, don’t you have the Bombay High Court to challenge the Epidemic Act?”

The petitioner argued that the petition was filed in the Supreme Court, since it is the only court that can strike down a central law. Justice Chandrachud replied that the petitioner should read up on the powers of the High Courts under Article 226.

“If you go to the library on the second floor or the one on the ground floor of the Delhi High Court, and peruse a book called D.D. Basu’s shorter Constitution, you will find that the High Courts have the power”, the bench told the petitioner H.N. Mirashi. The bench asked the petitioner to withdraw the petition from the top court and move the concerned High Court.

The petitioner asked the top court to issue a direction to move the High Court. The bench replied, why should the court direct, the petitioner can approach the appropriate authority as per law. The bench added that petitioner’s contention regarding it being a central Act is misconceived. The petitioner had raised contention regarding quarantine issue in Maharashtra.

The top court reiterated that every High Court in the country has the power to strike down a law. After a brief hearing in the matter, the petitioner withdrew the plea.