A PIL has been filed in the Andhra Pradesh High Court seeking a direction upon the State Government to declare the High Court premises as a "Red Zone/Containment Zone", in order to prevent Covid-19 pandemic from spreading among the staff and other stakeholders.
The petition has been filed by BC, SC, ST Minority Student Federation after 30 members of the court staff from the high court tested Covid positive in addition to two fatalities.
"It belies reason as to why an area in which 2 persons died of COVID-19, 2 persons are critical, about 30 employees have tested positive continues to function normally and has not being declared a containment zone," the Petitioner has contended.
They have also sought an independent enquiry into the incidents leading to the "untimely death" of Late B. Rajasekhar, Registrar General (In-charge), on June 24, 2020 and the death of an employee working as Assistant in the VR Section.
Based on certain newspaper reports, the Petitioner has indicated that death of the Registrar General (I/C) was squarely due to "sabotage" of the procedures required to be adopted by the High Court, including the social distancing norms.
"Due to the visiting of the court premises by the Hon'ble Judges, the court staff also had to attend, including the then Registrar General (I/C), Sri B. Rajasekhar, who was suffering with a heart ailment. He suffered a cardiac arrest on 24-06-2020 while on the court premises and expired. It was reported in local newspapers on 25-06-2020 that he was tested positive for COVID-19 and that his death was caused due to complications arising out of being infected by COVID-19," the plea states.
On this note it is submitted that as held by the Supreme Court in State Of West Bengal & Ors. v. Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights, 2010(3) SCC 571, the High Court is empowered to order a CBI investigation under Article 226, without the consent of the State Government.
It is further contended that the swearing in ceremony of 3 Judges at the High Court on May 2, 2020, was conducted in absolute derogation of social distancing.
"The said swearing-in ceremony took place in the presence of all the existing judges, huge number of court staff, and advocates in a packed courtroom. This was in total violation of the guidelines issued by WHO, the Government of India, the State Government of A.P., and the Hon'ble Apex Court in dealing with the norms to be followed at the workplace and in the courts as the case may be," the Petitioner-organization has submitted.
It is therefore prayed that the High Court be directed to strictly follow the guidelines issued by the Central/ State Government.
The plea has been filed through Advocates K. Ashok Reddy and Sahith GV.
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