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New Bench Of Gujarat HC To Hear Cases On COVID-19 & Migrants Issues

28 May 2020 2:11 PM GMT
New Bench Of Gujarat HC To Hear Cases On COVID-19 & Migrants Issues
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Following a roster change in the High Court of Gujarat, a new bench composition will be considering the suo moto cases and PILs on COVID-19 control measures and migrants issues in Gujarat.

The matters will be now considered by a bench comprising Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice J B Pardiwala.

The matters were being considered by a bench comprising Justices J B Pardiwala and Ilesh J Vora till now.


The suo moto case on COVID-19 control measures was registered on March 13 by a bench comprising Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Ashutosh J Shastri. The case was titled "In Re: Precautionary Measures In The Wake Of The Pandemic of Corona Virus (COVID-19)".

On May 11, a bench comprising Justices J B Pardiwala and Ilesh J Vora took suo moto cognizance of the issue of migrants in Gujarat, and clubbed it along with the matters pertaining to COVID-19 control. This bench had been hearing it since then, along with PILs filed on the issue.

On May 22, the bench of Justices J B Pardiwala and Ilesh J Vora passed critical comments against the pathetic conditions in Ahmedabad Civil Hospital as regards COVID-19 patients, and passed a slew of directions.

The Court had expressed alarm over the high morbidity rate of COVID-19 patients in Ahmedabad Civil Hospital.

The Court said that its conditions were "pathetic" and were "as good a dungeon".

The Court asked if the Gujarat Government was aware that the lack of adequate number of ventilators was the cause of high mortality of patients there.

"Is the State Government aware of the hard fact that the patients at the Civil Hospital are dying because of lack of adequate number of ventilators? How does the State Government propose to tackle this problem of ventilators?", the bench asked.

The Civil Hospital contributed to highest death in most of the week during the last eight weeks, the Court noted.

"It is very distressing to note that most of the patients in the Civil Hospital are dying after four days or more of the treatment. This indicates complete lack of critical care", the Court had said.

The Court had also urged the Government to increase the number of COVID-19 tests in the state, discarding the submission made by the Advocate General that more COVID-19 tests would mean 70% of the population turning positive, leading to a "fear psychosis".

Later, the State Govt filed application to recall the scathing observations made by the HC against Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, stating that they will shake the confidence of common man in the hospital, and will demoralize the medical staff. Claiming that the steps have been taken to improve the conditions in the hospital, the Government urged the Court to "make few suitable observation so as to inspire confidence in the mind of a common man".

On May 25, the same bench headed by J Pardiwala considered the matter.

While taking note of measures taken by the Govt, the Court said that it was too early to give certificate as regards civil hospital. The bench also directed that an independent committee should inquire into the contents of an anonymous letter sent by a resident doctor of the Civil Hospital regarding the state of affairs there.

The bench also said that it might do surprise visits at the hospital.

"We sound a note of caution. The Superintendent of the Civil Hospital and other authorities of the Health Department of Gujarat shall keep themselves ready to find our presence one fine morning on a given day in the Civil Hospital. This would put an end to all the controversies with regard to the functioning of the Civil Hospital at Ahmedabad", the bench had ordered.

These matters will now be considered by the bench headed by Chief Justice Vikram Nath.

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