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Whether State Govt. Enquired Into The Issue Of Undercounting Of COVID Deaths?: Orissa High Court Seeks District-Wise Death Data

Sparsh Upadhyay
26 Jun 2021 11:35 AM GMT
Whether State Govt. Enquired Into The Issue Of Undercounting Of COVID Deaths?: Orissa High Court Seeks District-Wise Death Data
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The Orissa High Court on Wednesday asked the State Government as to whether the issue of undercounting of Covid 19 deaths has been enquired into by it. The Court has sought a response in this regard on July 5, when the Advocate General will also have to present a district-wise report on Covid-19 deaths. The Bench of Chief Justice S. Muralidhar and Justice S. K. Panigrahi ordered this...

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The Orissa High Court on Wednesday asked the State Government as to whether the issue of undercounting of Covid 19 deaths has been enquired into by it. The Court has sought a response in this regard on July 5, when the Advocate General will also have to present a district-wise report on Covid-19 deaths. 

The Bench of Chief Justice S. Muralidhar and Justice S. K. Panigrahi ordered this while hearing a plea filed highlighting the issue regarding the possible undercounting of Covid-19 deaths in the State of Odisha.

However, the Court expressed its reservations about the manner in which the Petitioner, who claimed to be a member of the Bar for about seventeen years, had gone about preparing the petition in haste, based on sketchy facts gleaned essentially from press reports.

The Court also noted that the petitioner made a representation to the Additional Chief Secretary (Health) by e-mail only on 16th June 2021, and without waiting for a response has chosen to immediately file this petition on 18th June, 2021.

Therefore, the Court said that it was not inclined to entertain the petition, however, the Court did take up the issue relating to undercounting of Covid 19 deaths in the pending PIL concerning issues incidental to the outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic i.e. W.P.(C) No.16072 of 2021 which is next listed on 5th July, 2021.

Thus, the Advocate General was requested to take into account details available on the website of the Chief District Medical Officer, Nayagarh regarding COVID deaths in that District, examined, wheres, it was claimed that the figure therein was far more than the official figure. 

The AG was further directed to inform the Court on 5th July, 2021 whether the issue of undercounting of Covid 19 deaths has been enquired into by the Additional Chief Secretary, Health and what is the factual position in that regard.

"The district wise position be placed before the Court on the next date in the said writ petition," said the Court.

As far as the instant petition was concerned, since it does not comply with the basic requirements of Rule 8 of the High Court PIL Rules, and had been filed in a casual manner with sketchy facts, the Court was inclined to entertain the petition and thus it was accordingly dismissed.

Case title - Nishikanta Mishra vs State Of Odisha & Others

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