"Court also directed the concerned authorities to carry out protocols with humanity"
The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Thursday issued detailed directions in light of the nationwide lockdown due to COVID19. These include extension of interim orders, humane treatment by authorities, decongesting prisons and providing adequate facilities.
A bench comprising Chief Justice JK Maeshwari & Justice Satyanarayana Murthy took up the issue as "pro bono publico" and considered it appropriate to take view of different problems being complained to the Registry.
The order states,
"This Court is also of the view that health of a citizen is within the purview of Article 21 (Right to Live) guaranteed to a citizen to live in healthy atmosphere. Further, the different problems which are being complained to the Registry of this Court to take up various cases for hearing, the cognizance has been taken."
Proffering a solution to problems faced by the people of the state, including medical professional who are at the frontline in the pandemic as well as those who are moving between Telangana & Andhra Pradesh, directions for adequate quarantine measures were put forth.
"The issue regarding entry on boundaries of the State of Andhra Pradesh is concerned, it is directed that no mass gathering shall be allowed by the authorities of both the States. The officers of both the States shall follow National Protocol or otherwise looking to the peculiar situation in which the citizens of the State of Andhra Pradesh have been left over by the Telangana State, to go to their homes, taking due steps for quarantine process, by staying at their homes through such undertaking, on necessary tests, the National Protocol shall be observed by them" – the order states.
Further to this, court also directed the concerned authorities to carry out protocols "with humanity", especially in case of care of females with children and pregnant women.
The order, among other things, noted that doctors treating patients must also ensure confidentiality.
Detailed directions were also passed by the court such as:-
1) Extension of interim order(s)/interim relief(s)
In terms of the said directions, the bench directed that all interim orders passed by the High court, district courts as well as tribunals etc., wherein the stay provided for has expired two weeks prior or is due to expire within a period of one month shall continue to operate for a period of one month from the order dated March 26, 2020.
The same directions apply in matters of bail/suspension, demolition, eviction, auction etc.
2) Directions to ensure safety measures for health professionals and police
The court has directed the state government to provide, "all necessary equipment like N-95 masks, sterile medical gloves, starch apparels, personal protection equipment and all other necessary things to the Doctors in the dispensaries and other Paramedical staff, thereby they may be in a position to provide medical aid to the citizens" and all necessary facilities for emergency duties by police and other persons.
3) Directions regarding overcrowding of prisons:-
In terms of the suo motu petition wherein the Supreme Court took cognizance of the congested prisons and issued guidelines to decongest so as to contain the spread of the pandemic, the court herein also followed suit.
Release prisoners in offences where the maximum period of sentence is seven years or less;
The court has stated that prisoner "may be released on interim bail on furnishing adequate bail bonds if they are not second offenders and also not offenders under Section 376 of IPC and POCSO Act, for a period of one month."
4) Directions regarding availibility of essential goods
The court pointed out that the poor must have access to healthcare and food so that "they do not sleep on an empty stomach"
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