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No One Can Be Permitted To Violate Covid Appropriate Behaviour To Jeopardize Lives Of Local Population: Uttarakhand HC Extends Stay On Char Dham Yatra

Aaratrika Bhaumik
29 July 2021 10:22 AM GMT
No One Can Be Permitted To Violate Covid Appropriate Behaviour To Jeopardize Lives Of Local Population: Uttarakhand HC Extends Stay On Char Dham Yatra
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The Uttarakhand High Court on Wednesday continued to review the Covid-19 situation in the State and issued a host of directions to the State government in this regard. A Bench comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Verma also extended its order staying State Government's decision to hold Char Dham Yatra.On June 28, 2021 the Court had issued a stay order on...

The Uttarakhand High Court on Wednesday continued to review the Covid-19 situation in the State and issued a host of directions to the State government in this regard.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Verma also extended its order staying State Government's decision to hold Char Dham Yatra.

On June 28, 2021 the Court had issued a stay order on the decision of the Uttarakhand State Cabinet to hold the Chardham Yatra. During the hearing on Wednesday, the counsel appearing for one of the petitioners requested the Court to extend the stay order which was due to expire on that day. The petitioner had contended that the Covid-19 situation had not improved in the State and accordingly people must be refrained from congregating in large numbers for religious purposes.

Accordingly, the Court observed,

"SLP has been filed by the State against the Stay Order dated 28.06.2021, which is presently pending before the Hon'ble Supreme Court. Considering the concession made by Mr. S.N. Babulkar, the learned Advocate General for the State, this Court directs that the Stay Order dated 28.06.2021 shall continue till the Hon'ble Supreme Court pronounces its judgment in the said SLP"

In its previous order, the High Court had directed the State government to submit a report detaining the steps undertaken to control the influx of tourists in the State and to ensure strict compliance of Covid appropriate behaviour. On Wednesday, the Court expressed displeasure at the State's silence on this aspect.
"According to the media report, and according to the large number of tourists pouring into Nainital, it is rather obvious that too many tourists are coming to the hill stations. Due to the large influx of tourists, the SOP for Covid Appropriate Behaviour is observed more in breach, than in adherence. Yet the entire affidavit is silent with regard to the steps which are required to be taken by the police against the erring tourists", the Court opined.

Accordingly the Inspector General of the Police was instructed to submit an affidavit with regards to the steps taken by the police while dealing with the erring tourists. No one can be permitted to violate the Covid Appropriate Behaviour to jeopardize the lives of the local population, the Court noted.

In light of the submissions made by the concerned counsels, the Court issued the following directions to the State government:

Availability of paediatric ventilators in government hospitals and the presence of Delta Plus variant in the State

The Secretary, Medical Health and Family Welfare was directed to inform the Court about (a) the availability of paediatric ventilators and paediatric wards available in the Government Hospitals; (b) the steps taken, if any, for filling up the vacancies of Staff Nurses, Lab Technicians, Female Health Workers (ANMs), and the present status of the selection process, if already initiated; (c) the presence, or the discovery of the Delta Plus variant in the State; and (d) with regard to the 300 samples, which were sent to the NCDC lab at Noida, and whether any case of Delta Plus variant has been discovered in those 300 samples, or not?

Increase in the stipend provided to intern doctors

The State was directed to take a decision with regards to the increase in the stipend of the intern Doctors as expeditiously as possible, and preferably before the next date of hearing of the case. Moreover, the State was also directed to ensure that the stipend is paid to the intern Doctors on time, rather than with delay.

Implementation of Uttarakhand Anti-Littering and Anti Spitting Act, 2016

The State was further directed to enforce the Uttarakhand Anti-Littering and Anti Spitting Act, 2016, and to issue the necessary directions for the implementation of the same for the benefit of the competent authorities under the Act.

Launch of campaign to curtail misinformation regarding Covid-19 vaccination

The State was directed to initiate a campaign for removing any superstition, suspicion, or misinformation that people may have with regards to vaccination for COVID-19. Simultaneously, the State was also directed to increase the number of vaccinations being carried out throughout the State.

Inoculation of physically challenged persons at their respective homes

The State was also directed to instruct all the District Magistrates to discover the number of physically challenged persons within their jurisdiction, who may be unable to come to the "Near to Home Vaccination Centres". As and when such persons are discovered by the District Magistrates, it shall be the duty of the concerned District Magistrate to ensure that those physically challenged persons, who cannot possibly leave their homes, are inoculated by the medical staff at their homes. The steps taken by the District Magistrates shall be informed to the Court by the next date of hearing.

The District Magistrates were also directed to ensure that in case any camps were to be held for the benefit of the physically challenged persons, the date, the time, and the place is informed well in advance to the community at large by the use of print and electronic media. The necessary arrangements at the camps should be made to ensure that comfortable accommodation is provided to the physically challenged persons, and their other needs such as food, water and availability of toilets are met by the Civil Administration, or by the Medical Health Department.

Reconsideration of State's decision to withdraw 25 percent reservation of beds in private hospitals for economically weaker sections of the society

The State was also directed to reconsider its decision of withdrawing the 25% reservation of beds in the private Hospitals for the weaker sections of the society. Therefore, the State should reconsider whether it should withdraw the order dated 25.07.2021, or not?

Steps taken to augment infrastructure of ambulances in district hospitals

The Secretary, Medical Health and Family Welfare, and the State were directed to consider the Audit Report vis-à-vis the condition, the capacity, and the lack of infrastructure of the Ambulances, which are attached with the District Hospitals. The Secretary was also directed to inform the Court with regards to the steps taken for filling up the lacunae pointed out in the Audit Report by the next date

Accordingly, the Court disposed of the petition by directing the Secretary, Medical Health and Family Welfare, the Secretary, Department of Culture & Religious Affairs, and Secretary, Disaster Management to be present through video conferencing on the next date of hearing.

Click Here To Read/Download Order

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