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Letter Petition In Calcutta HC Earmarks Ambiguous Information Of COVID19 By State Govt.

Sanya Talwar
16 April 2020 8:45 AM GMT
Letter Petition In Calcutta HC Earmarks Ambiguous Information Of COVID19 By State Govt.
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A letter initated in the form of PIL which has sought suitable directions from the Calcultta High Court regarding disclosure of Information about the Coronavirus Pandemic by the State Government was taken up on Thursday.

A bench of Chief Justice Thottahil B. Radhakrishnan & Justice Arijit Banerjee adjourned the matter to April 17 on the submission of State seeking a copy of the Letter thereon. 

The petitioner, Mr. Ritesh Tiwari has sought the Court's suo moto cognisance & "strong judicial intervention" in terms of the "ambiguous and inadequate public information which is being released by the Government of West Bengal regarding the source, spread, toll and status of containment of the pandemic COVID19 in the state".

Tiwari has also highlighted the alleged discrepancy in the systemic information which is being shared by the state government which suddenly changed from disclosing total number of covid cases to active cases. He has also stated that as done in the past, the the State Municipal Corporartion does not have any authority to announce deaths due to COVID infection.

"When the country is busy fighting the pandemic the state cannot indulge in statistical jugglery and deny the people their right to know. This amounts to using the State machinery to distory facts. On April 10, the State's Cheif Secretary Rajiv Sinha emphasised on the co-morbidity and said that the figures of death remains at five. The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) or any municipality has no authority to announce deaths due to COVID infection" - states Tiwari in his letter.

The letter further elucidates refusal of the State Government of West Bengal to divulge the details of the number of attendees from the state in the congregation of Tablighi Jamaat at Delhi's Nizammuddin in so far as "how many have been quarantines and with how many people they have further contacted with".

The letter states,

"Even when it comes to identifying the cOVID19 hotspots, there is no information as to where these places are located. Occasional statements like, everyone does not need to know everything are being made by the Chief Minidter & Chief Secretary"

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