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Kerala High Court Showers Praise On Health Workers For Effectively Containing Nipah Virus Outbreak

The Kerala High Court lauded the efforts of the State Health Department in effectively containing the Nipah Virus outbreak. The Court also appreciated the Central Government for rendering necessary assistance in the matter.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice C.T Ravi Kumar was dealing with a public interest litigation filed by two law students seeking directions to remove videos uploaded in Facebook and YouTube spreading misinformation about the disease. In that regard, the Court took note of the statement filed by the Government  that necessary directions were already issued to Facebook and YouTube to remove the misleading videos.

The Joint Secretary to the Information Technology Department, Government of Kerala,  issued a communication to Facebook and Youtube on 07.06.2018 stating as follows :-

“Two persons viz, Mohanan Vaidyar and Jacob Vadakkanchery, claiming to be practitioners of indigenous medicine and naturopathy uploaded some videos urging people not to take the directions given by the Government seriously and advised against following the precautionary measures. Since spreading of these videos among the public is seriously affecting the measures taken by the Kerala Government’s  Health Department in curbing the virus outbreak, immediate action needs to be taken to remove the videos from public domain. So in exercise of powers conferred by the Section 79(3)(b) of the Information Technology Act, 2000, I am to request you to take immediate necessary action to remove the videos”,

The Government also informed that criminal cases have been registered against Mohanan Vaidyar and Jacob Vadakkanchery under Sections 270 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 120(o) of the Kerala Police Act. It further stated that “Government have taken every steps to curb the misinformation campaign initiated by fringe elements and every endeavour is being made to safeguard the lives of citizens from the “NIPAH VIRUS” outbreak.

The Court recorded satisfaction of the measures taken by the State Government to curb the misinformation spread by “miscreants”.

Applauding the efforts of health workers, Cheif Justice Roy orally observed that they had gone beyond the realms of their duties to render selfless service, unmindful of health risks. Chief Justice Roy also made a special mention about a Doctor who performed the last rites of a victim of Nipah Virus, undaunted by fears of infection.

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