The Sikkim High Court dismissed a public interest litigation which raised several issues arising out of restrictions imposed by the state in the wake of COVID 19 pandemic.
One Prashant Sharma had approached the Court assailing several orders passed by the state affecting Public Distribution System, Mid-Day Meal etc. Taking note of the averments made in the writ petition, the bench of the Chief Justice Arup Kumar Goswami and Justice Bhaskar Raj Pradhan said:
"General averments have been made that there will be difficulty. When the whole country is asked to maintain physical or social distancing, the petitioner says that the concept of social distancing makes it difficult for the people who are undergoing tuberculosis treatment etc. to access their drugs. There is no averment that they have been denied access to drugs."
The state submitted that the notifications have been issued to safeguard the interest of the people of the State and the State Government is acting in tandem with the Central Government to redress many of the issues that have arisen and are likely to arise in the wake of National lockdown imposed to combat the spread of COVID-19. The Government Advocate also said that the Government is alive to the situation and is taking all possible steps to mitigate the difficulties of the people and that a State Task Force Committee is also set up in this regard.
Refusing to interfere with the plea, the Court said:
"We reserve liberty to the petitioner or any other public spirited person to raise issues arising out of COVID-19 at the first instance before the State Task Force Committee. If the grievances, if any, are not redressed, certainly recourse can be taken to this Court. Before parting with the records, we, however, observe that the State Government will take all necessary steps to tide over the unprecedented situation created by COVID-19."
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