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Covid- Third Wave- Minimize Over Crowding, Restrict Traditional Ways Of Campaigning In Local Body Polls And More: Petitioner Submits Suggestions In Bombay HC

Shrutika Pandey
25 Jun 2021 3:02 AM GMT
Covid- Third Wave- Minimize Over Crowding, Restrict Traditional Ways Of Campaigning In Local Body Polls And More: Petitioner Submits Suggestions In Bombay HC
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Advocate Rajesh Inamdar representing the Petitioner Nilesh Navlakha in the COVD PIL has submitted his suggestions to the Bombay High Court regarding COVID management in Maharashtra, given the expected arrival of the third wave. The suggestions include minimizing overcrowding by restricting public events, banning or restricting traditional ways of campaigning in local body polls and...

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Advocate Rajesh Inamdar representing the Petitioner Nilesh Navlakha in the COVD PIL has submitted his suggestions to the Bombay High Court regarding COVID management in Maharashtra, given the expected arrival of the third wave.

The suggestions include minimizing overcrowding by restricting public events, banning or restricting traditional ways of campaigning in local body polls and identifying families in need of assistance with food grains.

The bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justices GS Kulkarni hearing a clutch of PILs on Covid Management in the State will take up the suggestions filed through Advocate Rajesh Inamdar tomorrow.

He submitted ten-point suggestions while informing the High Court that as per top Government scientists and experts, a third wave, even deadlier and more terrifying than the second one, is "inevitable" in India.

"All India Institute Of Medical Science (AIIMS) director Randeep Guleria warned against the third wave of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and said that it could strike the country in the next six to eight weeks."

The recommendation states that the situation that occurred in the first two waves was due to inadequate publicity by the State Government regarding the jurisdictional/ward officers appointed for quick and immediate resolution of the problems of citizens.

The suggestions are as follows:

I. Easy access of orders of the High Court of Bombay by uploading them on government websites:

The High Court orders and judgments related to Covid or any other PIL cause affecting the populace at large should be made available on the website of the District Collector, Municipal Corporations, Zila Parishads etc., for easy publicity and easy access. The Court may also direct translation of these orders in the Marathi Language to ensure that the non-English speaking population is also aware of the orders and directions.

II. Mechanism to take back unused essential medicines from patients.

The State Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA) and the State may issue directions to the Hospitals, Nodal Officers and pharmacies to take back the unutilized life-saving drugs. It also suggested that the State and the Union must evolve a mechanism to dispose of expired and unused drugs. As per the guidelines issued by the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), the medicines should be discarded unused and unopened, especially when they are short in supply.

III. Issue guidelines to minimize overcrowding by restricting public events by public figures and politicians

It is suggested that this Court may consider deeming fit to frame such additional guidelines to regulate the holding of rallies, functions, events and funerals of the public figures/politicians/celebrities and fasten serious accountability on the authority who fails to regulate the said guidelines taking into account the pandemic situation which may last for several more months or year. The suggestions refer to a judgment of the Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court, which has taken exception to a minister attending the public event during a pandemic, more particularly during the lockdown and directed that no leader or minister should conduct physical ceremonies or functions.

IV. Local Body Polls

The PIL petitioner informs the Court that as per the announcement of the Maharashtra State Election Commission, districts of Nagpur, Dhulia, Nandurbar, Washim and Akola are due for local body polls in July 2021. The State Election Commission ought to take strict steps to develop any mechanism, ban or restrict the traditional way of campaigning to ensure that there is no aggregation of crowds during rallies, if any.

V. Contract Tracing and Testing

The PIL petitioners state that there have been over 21 cases of Delta Plus Variant found in Maharashtra. It may soon become a cause of concern if immediate steps to analyze information like travel history, vaccination status, whether they have been re-infected and if they got infected despite vaccination, to know more about the Delta Plus mutant, which might soon become a variant of concern.

VI. Identify families in need of assistance with food grains or other materials under the Food Security Act.

The State of Maharashtra had announced that they would provide free rations to underprivileged families in the State, but the people of Maharashtra, majorly from Mumbai, Pune and Kolhapur, were striving for dry rations for their families.

The PIL petitioner suggested the Court consider directing Secretary, Maharashtra State Legal Services Authority or the authority under the Disaster Management act to deploy its Volunteers to the slum areas and the areas where sections of marginalized families and other such families can be identified with the help of the NGOs, who need assistance in the form of food grains and other materials in this period of COVID-19 pandemic.

VII. Orders to be published in dual language, i.e., English & Marathi, to benefit the purpose of such directions at large.

VIII. Appointment of a counselor at every Hospital:

The PIL petitioner suggested appointing counselor/PRO/Social Workers at every Hospital to help the patients/persons in need by co-coordinating with different departments like PMC, Police, Labs, referring hospitals etc., to circumvent the notion of uncertainty, chaos, stress and agony.

IX. Wide publicity of numbers and contact details of various grievance redressal mechanisms and contract information of district-wise nodal authorities/ward officers, including health officials.

The State must create kiosks or help desks at prominent places or near the police stations/chowkies, chowks etc., so that people, especially from rural areas, do not find it difficult to get immediate medical help during critical times. It should also make information available through publication in newspapers, common directory area-specific, boards/hoardings, English, Marathi, and Hindi language.

X. Use of e-mail and social media platforms for the redressal of minor grievances by the Government authorities/departments to resolve minor grievances or queries of the citizens.

Edited by Sharmeen hakim

Click here to read the written submissions

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