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Hope Govt Will Continue To Take Curative Strides In Containing Pandemic: Sikkim High Court Suspends Suo Motu Monitoring Of Covid-19 Situation

Hannah M Varghese
20 Sep 2021 12:45 PM GMT
Hope Govt Will Continue To Take Curative Strides In Containing Pandemic: Sikkim High Court Suspends Suo Motu Monitoring Of Covid-19 Situation
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The Sikkim High Court has suspended its suo motu monitoring of the Covid-19 situation in the State, upon being convinced that the State Government has taken appropriate steps for establishment of all requisite infrastructure and other necessities to control the situation.A Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Meenakshi Madan Rai and Justice Bhasker Raj Pradhan disposed of the Public...

The Sikkim High Court has suspended its suo motu monitoring of the Covid-19 situation in the State, upon being convinced that the State Government has taken appropriate steps for establishment of all requisite infrastructure and other necessities to control the situation.

A Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Meenakshi Madan Rai and Justice Bhasker Raj Pradhan disposed of the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) initiated for Covid management in the State observing thus:

"...we are of the considered opinion that the anxieties raised in the instant PIL have been addressed by the State Government and steps are also being taken in the right direction for establishment of all requisite infrastructure and other necessities."

The Court also noted it expects the State to continue to employ precautionary measures in its fight against the pandemic. 

"As nothing further remains for consideration, we accordingly dispose of this Writ Petition with the hope that the State Government will continue to take preemptive and curative strides in the containment of the Covid-19 situation in the State."

During one of the previous hearings of the case, the respondents were directed to file a report regarding how the pandemic situation has been handled in the State, including an update on the infrastructure being made available for the same. 

In compliance with the said directive, the State had filed a comprehensive report before the Court on 8th September 2021.

According to this report, at present, there is no shortage of Oxygen in any of the hospitals in the State.

In fact, it was reported that as of September 2, the total Oxygen generating capacity within the State was 9.16 MT per day, while the total consumption of medical Oxygen of the State was merely 1.9 MT per day; which implies that the utility of Oxygen was currently at only 25% against the availability. 

The State also submitted that under the Emergency Covid Response Package: Phase II (ECRP: Phase II), the Ministry has approved the proposals of the State to establish RT-PCR Testing Laboratories at the District Hospitals in Namchi and Gyalshing.

Moreover, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare also informed that all approved proposals under the ECRP: Phase II are to be completed well before March 31, 2022. Advocate General submitted that all efforts in this direction were being made by the State.

Regarding the preparedness for an anticipated third wave of the pandemic, the Court was informed that a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the same had been notified by the State vide Notification dated September 6, 2021 and that all relevant details were referred to and addressed in the SOP. 

Further, the report disclosed that the State had completed Single Dose Vaccination of almost 96% of the eligible population and Second Dose Vaccination of more than 50% of the eligible population as of now.

The Communication also reveals that a Budget has been allocated for ramping up health infrastructure with a special focus on the establishment of Pediatric Intensive Care Units (PICUs).

"The establishment of the PICUs is a non-negotiable component and steps are being taken for ramping up such facilities and infrastructure at the District Hospitals in Singtam (East District), Gyalshing (West District), Mangan (North District) and Jorethang (Karfectar), South District," it was stated.  

The Court noticed that in the report, although the details of Ambulances in all hospitals were provided, the details of drivers attached to such Ambulances were not mentioned.

Upon finding so, the Court expressed its concern regarding functionality citing that if twenty ambulances were available in the East District, and only four Drivers are employed, in effect, only four Ambulances in the East District would be functional.

However, the Advocate General assured the Court that as per verbal instructions received by him, the process of appointment of more drivers was underway. Therefore, it was held that if any shortfall in this context was discovered, the State will take the necessary steps.

Advocate Jorgay Namka was the Amicus Curiae in the matter. Assistant Solicitor General Sangita Pradhan, Advocate General Vivek Kohli, and Government Advocate Yeshi Wangmoo Rinchhen appeared for the respondents.

Case Title: In Re Covid Managament

Click Here To Read The Order 


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