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"A Number Of Citizens Have Been Driven To Poverty During Lockdown": Madras High Court Takes Judicial Notice Of Reports

Sparsh Upadhyay
8 Jun 2021 12:35 PM GMT
A Number Of Citizens Have Been Driven To Poverty During Lockdown: Madras High Court Takes Judicial Notice Of Reports
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In a significant observation, the Madras High Court on Monday said that the Judicial notice has to be taken of several authentic reports indicating that a number of citizens have been driven to poverty during the lockdown and, particularly, the second surge of the pandemic.The Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy was hearing the matter pertaining to...

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In a significant observation, the Madras High Court on Monday said that the Judicial notice has to be taken of several authentic reports indicating that a number of citizens have been driven to poverty during the lockdown and, particularly, the second surge of the pandemic.

The Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy was hearing the matter pertaining to private nursing homes and perceived exorbitant charges demanded in dealing with Covid patients. 

The matter before the Court 

A petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India seeking for a Writ of Mandamus directing the respondents to devise a scheme of undertaking all the private Nursing Homes, Polyclinics, and Hospitals of all kinds existing in the State of Tamil Nadu under their control to admit and to provide free treatment effectively to the Covid -19 Pandemic Positive infected patients of Tamil Nadu State.

Pursuant to a previous observation made by the Court in suo motu proceedings initiated by the Court to deal with the second surge of the pandemic, a report had been filed by the Court, in which measures undertaken by the State, including suspending the licenses of some private medical facilities, have been indicated.

The Court noted that a grievance cell had been set up with a dedicated number for citizens to lodge their complaints, to this the Court hoped:

"The drive would be kept up and complaints entertained and the bills raised verified and the matter dealt with appropriately. In the light of the measures taken, no further direction is necessary, but the State should keep a strict vigil so that if there was any profiteering during distress, the same can be undone."

Further, the Court noted that according to the petitioner, the income limit for citizens to obtain the benefit under the Chief Minister's Insurance Scheme had been pegged too low and the same should be increased.

To this, the Court said:

"That is a policy decision and this Court has already requested the State Government to consider doubling the threshold income limit to bring others within the fold of the Scheme."

Lastly, the Court also said:

"Judicial notice has to be taken of several authentic reports indicating that a number of citizens have been driven to poverty during the lockdown and, particularly, the second surge of the pandemic. It is hoped that the State Government considers the matter sympathetically."

Noting a fall in the rate of positive cases in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, the Madras High Court last month observed that there are citizens facing unemployment and lack of income avenues and that these aspects have to be considered by the State.

The Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy also noted the suggestions given by the intervenor that the face of the COVID victim's dead body should be covered by some transparent material so that the relatives may have a glimpse of the face for the last time or even identify the person.

"COVID-19 is an unfortunate situation, wherein a large number of young men and women lost their employment", observed the Madras High Court (Madurai Bench) last year while granting bail to two-person accused of committing theft.

The Bench of Justice S. M. Subramaniam was hearing the bail application of two petitioners, who were arrested and remanded to judicial custody for the offences punishable under Sections 379 of IPC on the file of the respondent police.

Case title - D.I.Nathan v. The Chief Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu

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