The High Court of Bombay at Goa on Friday issued notice to the State government after taking cognizance of a letter written to the Chief Justice BP Dharmadhikari by two law graduates stating that medical facilities in the state of Goa were not enough for combating the deadly Corona Virus.
Justice MS Sonak directed the matter to be registered as PIL (Writ petition) and issued notice to the state government returnable on March 30.
Jay Mathew and Gauravvardhan Nandkarni, both newly graduated from law school wrote to the Chief Justice requesting him to take suo moto cognizance of the issue "with respect to the lack of medical preparedness in tackling the Covid-19 outbreak pursuant to the recent events that have transpired in the State of Goa."
Furthermore, the letter states-
"The Courts have always stood as the guardian and protector of Fundamental Rights of the citizens.
We fear the unpreparedness by the State Government in dealing with this pandemic and therefore are appealing to your Lordship to take appropriate action."
It is stated in the letter that while the State Government has been effective in enforcing a curfew and thereafter a complete lockdown, "it has completely failed in preparing on the public health front."
The letter goes on to state that lack of medical preparedness is the foremost concern in the state-
"The pretext of the National Lockdown was that, 'extraordinary situations demand extraordinary measures,' but the same can be seen to be flouted in the State of Goa.
We believe that the main concerns which have to be addressed is that of the medical preparedness and capability to deal with this pandemic which developed nations around the world are struggling to cope with. One of the main features of the medical perspective of preparedness is that of forming a "Standard Treatment Guideline or Standard Protocol for Treatment," which must be followed mandatorily. This Guideline/Protocol is not only warranted for by the Medical establishments, but also is the need of the hour."
However, the letter cites examples in the state wherein safety of doctors was compromised due to lack of proper medical care-
"There does not seem to be any Formal Standard prescribed for the Doctors and the urgency of the same can be inferred from this unsettling scenario wherein two doctors at the public hospital have been said to be quarantined because of the inability in maintaining proper standard of care while dealing with potential coronavirus positive patients in Goa. If the same is allowed to continue, then not only the safety of the isolated patients but also the safety of the Doctors will be at stake."
Furthermore, when it came to the testing of coronavirus patients, the letter states there were no authorised testing facilities in the State jurisdiction which resulted in a bare minimum of tests being conducted in a tourist destination like Goa.
As per both Jay and Gauravvardhan, following information must be made available to the public by the Government:
1) A well drafted and authorised "Standard Treatment Guideline or Standard Protocol for Treatment," with special notice to the safety of Doctors.
2) A complete report on the physical preparedness namely, the number of places of isolation, the number of beds at such a place, the number of ventilators at such a place, the availability of protective gear for the Doctors, and other medical staff etc.
3) The communication and readiness to include the Private hospitals and clinics for treatment and testing as done in several other States.
The letter also states that for making practices like social distancing and the lockdown a success, the model of the State of Delhi or the State of Kerala can be followed-
"It can be achieved through a community model, wherein the establishments, citizens and government work together. The same models have proved to be major breakthroughs in the State of Delhi and the State of Kerala".
The hearing will take place on March 30 at 12 noon.
Click Here To Download Letter