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Covid-19: Jammu & Kashmir High Court Issues Directions For Vaccination Of Lawyers; Financial Assistance

Akshita Saxena
6 May 2021 8:50 AM GMT
Covid-19: Jammu & Kashmir High Court Issues Directions For Vaccination Of Lawyers; Financial Assistance
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The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed the UT administration to ensure that lawyers in the age group of above 45 years are vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus, within a week. The Court has further ordered that lawyers in the age-group 18-45 should be given priority and should be vaccinated within two weeks after registering on the COWIN app. The order has been passed by...

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The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed the UT administration to ensure that lawyers in the age group of above 45 years are vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus, within a week.

The Court has further ordered that lawyers in the age-group 18-45 should be given priority and should be vaccinated within two weeks after registering on the COWIN app.

The order has been passed by a Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Sanjay Dhar in the suo moto case registered for protecting life of the citizens by ensuring adequate medical help both in terms of medical advice and life supporting material amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

While noting that the government is taking due steps for controlling the pandemic and to provide full medical support, the Bench opined that much more is required to be done and directions need to passed on the following points:

Registration and vaccination of lawyers

The Division Bench ordered:

Insofar as the registration and vaccination of lawyers above the age of 45 years is concerned, the Court directed the Registry to get some date fixed for the registration of such advocates.

It is further ordered that some dates may be fixed for vaccination of such lawyers in groups, either at some suitable place in the High Court Campus or Medical College or Hospital as may be agreed upon.

In regard to vaccination of lawyers between the age group of 18 to 45, the Court advised that they may get themselves registered for vaccination online as per the prescribed procedure.

It is further ordered that once they are registered, they will be provided facility of vaccination (i) either in group on appropriate dates at a suitable place, or (ii) they will be given a slot for vaccination on priority at the earliest, if possible, with in a period of two weeks from the date of registration.

Financial Assistance to affected lawyers

The Bench was informed by amicus curiae Monika Kohli that every day, lawyers both in Jammu and Srinagar Wings of High Court are getting infected by Covid-19. She urged that the families of the lawyers who have died recently due to Covid-19 may be provided some financial assistance.

Accordingly, the Court has directed that in case any family of the lawyer is in need of financial assistance either on account of medical expenditure or due to the death, the family members may approach the Bar Association with an application.

"On the application being forwarded, the Court would speedily consider it and endeavour to provide maximum financial aid out of the welfare fund," the Court said.

It has also requested the Government to consider for making some additional budgetary allocation for such families, as the funds available with the Bar may not be sufficient to meet the requirement.

Supply of oxygen to patients at home

During the hearing, the Court was informed that persons who are otherwise at home and are not serious patients but need oxygen are not getting oxygen cylinders.

The Respondent authorities on the other hand, represented by Advocate General DC Raina and AAG Aseem Sawhney claimed that there is no shortage of supply of oxygen in the Union Territory and that there is no ban on use of oxygen for patients at home.

Now, the Court has directed the Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education, to nominate adequate number of Nodal Officers for each city to resolve difficulty faced in the supply of oxygen to the patients at home.

It is ordered that full details with contact number, etc. of such Nodal officers will be widely publicised. It is also stated that once the Nodal Officers are so approached, they shall take immediate and adequate steps to ensure the supply of oxygen where it is found to be needed without causing any harassment to anyone.

Seeking the services of infectious disease specialist

Senior Advocate Rohit Kapoor submitted before the Court that there is no one in the entire Union Territory who is an expert doctor to treat infectious diseases. He urged that the government as such be directed to take services of infectious diseases specialists from other states.

However, the Division Bench opined that it is not sure whether such specialist is necessary in treatment o Covid-19. It has ordered the Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education to explore the number of such specialists available throughout the country and the possibility, if any of them is willing to serve the Union Territory, if such service of an expert is genuinely needed.

Shortage of Ventilators, Oxygen, Beds & Medication

Senior Advocate Sunil Sethi highlighted the short supply of Oxygen, Remdesivir and deficiency of doctors and nursing staff in the UT. Similarly, Senior Advocate Abhinav Sharma highlighted the shortage of ventilators and submitted that the government is not disclosing the correct figures.

The Court has directed the Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education to come out on affidavit within two weeks with complete details of the number of hospitals both government and private available for Covid treatment, number of beds available thereof, District wise/City wise, quantity of Remdesivir allotted to the Union Territory, the exact quantity of Remdesivir received and used etc with the corresponding figures of the requirement.

Case Title: Court on Its Own Motion v. Govt of India


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