The Rajasthan High Court on Wednesday issued notices on a PIL, seeking precautionary and preventive measures to be observed by the state authorities to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
The Court also instructed that all precautionary measures should be enforced by the authorities at the private hospitals as well.
After hearing the arguments advanced by Petitioner, Advocate Shubham Modi, the division bench of Justice Sandeep Mehta and Justice Prabha Sharma issued notices to the Union of India, the State of Rajasthan, Northern Western Railway, High Court authorities.
The Petitioner has argued that the current advisories and treatment policies issued by the Health Ministry are inadequate to combat the rapidly spreading disease. He has therefore suggested that, among other things, the following steps should be taken by the Respondent authorities for efficiently combating the pandemic:
Availability of Masks
He pointed out that mask and sanitizer manufacturers had been "looting" the general public by charging exorbitantly for the same. Thus, he has prayed that the state must take prompt steps to crackdown black marketers and ensure wide availability of masks.
Proper Thermal screening at public places
The Petitioner has alleged that due to inadequate thermal screening facility, a lady infected with the COVID-19 disease managed to escape from the railway station. Stating that the same is a threat to the life of all those who will come in contact with her, he has prayed that all persons entering the premises of bus terminals, railway stations, airports, etc. in the state should be subjected to compulsory thermal screening.
Adequate no. of testing labs
The Petitioner has suggested that adequate number of qualitative laboratories, including Lab Vehicles should be set up in the state, to enable proper testing of suspected COVID-19 infectants.
Postponement of elections
On March 12, the Rajasthan Nagar Nigam Election Commission announced elections for various constituencies to be conducted from April 5. It has been prayed that the due to threat of the pandemic, the elections be deferred.
Prohibit all 'Made in China' products
It has been submitted that since the virus traces its origin to China, all Chinese products should be banned to wipe out apprehensions of transmission through "Made in China" products.
Prohibit sale of meat at least till April 30
Make private hospitals accountable
He has also suggested that in this situation of medical crisis, private hospitals should also be made accountable and should be directed to provide free medical services to patients suspected to be suffering from COVID-19.
Protection of Poor Persons
Drawing attention towards the debilitating state of slums, the Petitioner has suggested that special teams should be deployed to visit these areas, investigate the persons living there and also provide them with free masks, sanitizers, soaps, etc. through Public Distribution Sustem.
The Petitioner has urged the court that as an interim measure, during the pendency of the case, the Respondents should be directed to take all the aforementioned preventive measures, and uphold the Right to life of all persons, as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
Inert alia, it has been prayed that the Respondents should be directed to make available all important information relating to the steps taken by them to curb the pandemic and should also ensure easy availability of all medical facilities.
A further prayer has been made for review of the facilities and infrastructure provided by the government, on the basis of international scientific standards.
The Petitioner also bats for formation of a Monitoring Committee under the supervision of experts, to oversee the entire situation.
The court has now listed the matter for March 24, and has directed the AAG, appearing on behalf of state, to fix liability of Private hospital in taking measures against Coronavirus outbreak.
"Shri Sandeep Shah, learned AAG shall instruct that all precautionary measures are enforced by the authorities concerned at the private hospitals so as to prevent outbreak of coronavirus as per the advisory issued by the Central Government as well as the State Government," the order states.
Case Title: Shubham Modi v. Union of India & Ors.
Case No.: WP No. 3829/2020
Quorum: Justice Sandeep Mehta and Justice Prabha Sharma
Appearance: Petitioner in person; AAG Sandeep Shah, Advocate Priyanka Borana, Associate to Mr. Manoj Bhandari (for High Court)
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