The Karnataka High Court on Thursday disposed off a Public Interest Litigation seeking directions to constitute an expert committee at State Level, headed by a Sitting Judge or a retired Judge of the high court and consisting of chosen eminent scientists and experts from ISRO, DRDO, Director, Disease Control Institute, Bengaluru etc, to deal with the issue of COVID-19.
A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty while disposing of the petition filed by A - FOCUS (ADVOCATES - FOCUS) Advocates Forum For Constructive Social Work, said;
"Constituting a Committee headed by a Sitting Judge or a retired Judge of the Court to monitor the activities of research carried out by the State and Central Government as suggested by the petitioner will be counter productive as it will interfere with the steps which are being regularly taken by both the State Government and the Central Government to deal with the issue of COVID-19."
The petitioner an organisation formed by members of the Bar, sought directions to the respondents to call for status reports of funding, personnel, research title, duration of funding, research achieved, papers published from the Research Institutes which are being supported by the State Government, Union of India and various Departments of both the Governments.
It also sought to establish, maintain and monitor additional Laboratories at the cost of both the Central Government and the State Government out of their respective contingency funds. To commence serious research in COVID-19 and allied diseases in the additional Laboratories which may be established.
Direct the Government to cause conduct of research on the basis of modern scientific method followed in the Allopathic system of medicine, drugs being propagated by non-allopathic systems of medicine like Ayurvedic, Unani, Homeopathy systems of medicine and confirm their truthfulness and rule out the false claims.
The bench said "Firstly, we must record here that most of the issues raised in the petition are in the realm of policy. Secondly, considering the fact that a large number of persons are being tested positive for COVID-19 in the nation, both the State Government and the Central Government are facing a very difficult task. It is obvious that both the Governments are conscious of the fact apart from the measures which are being presently taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it is necessary to continue the research activities for finding out long term solutions."
The plea also prayed to direct the Government to frame a scheme or protocol to engage services of interested persons qualified with Doctorate/Postgraduate degrees held in the respective fields relating to the cells and cell biology, biotechnology etc. To frame a scheme or protocol even to engage the services of retired professors, scientists and interested experts in the field of research to overview and review the research work being done from time to time.
To which the court said "We cannot assume that the State Government or the Central Government are not taking any steps to rope in the services of even the retired personnel who are experts in the field. If such experts volunteer to help the Government in the measures taken as well as in the research activities, we are sure that both the Governments will accede to the requests made by the retired persons who are experts in the field."
Petitioner: G S KANNUR, SENIOR COUNSEL FOR SRI NARAYAN G RASALKAR, ADVOCATE
VIKRAM P HUILGOL, AGA FOR R-1 & 6 TO 11;
ASG M B NARGUND, A/W SRI M N KUMAR, CGC FOR R-2 TO 5.
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