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COVID-19 Suo Moto Case : SC Directs Centre, States/UTs To File Affidavit Showing Compliance Of Directions [Read Order]

Radhika Roy
27 July 2020 12:02 PM GMT
COVID-19 Suo Moto Case : SC Directs Centre, States/UTs To File Affidavit Showing Compliance Of Directions [Read Order]

The Supreme Court has directed the Centre to file a fresh detailed Affidavit within two weeks in order to show the steps that have been taken in pursuance of the directions issued by the Supreme Court on 19th June, 2020.

The Court observed that the affidavit filed by the Centre did not give details of compliance with respect to the slew of directions passed by it on June 19.

"An affidavit has been filed on behalf of the Union of India, which does not give the details of compliance of the directions except that orders have been issued to comply the directions. Mere direction to comply the directions is not enough. The steps taken towards compliance of the directions have to be brought on the record", the SC said in the order.

The directions were given in the suo moto case titled, "In Re: Proper Treatment of COVID-19 Patients and Dignified Handling of Dead Bodies in the Hospitals, etc" by a Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and MR Shah. The Court further directed States who had not filed their Replies, to file appropriate compliance reports within a period of two weeks.

Today's hearing commenced with the Bench observing that most States had failed to file a response to the directions which had been given by the Court vide their judgement dated 19th June. They further wanted to know if the directions had been complied by the Centre as well as the States, as details of compliance had not been provided by the Centre.

In response to this, Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta submitted to the Court that some time was required to file a proper Reply.

Accordingly, the Court granted two weeks' time to the Centre as well as the States, to file an appropriate compliance Affidavit.

"The State Governments / UTs have not filed affidavits giving details of compliance of various directions issued by this Court on 19th June, 2020. We are of the view that the Chief Secretaries of the States have to take steps to ensure that directions issued by this Court in order dated 19th June, 2020 are complied with. An appropriate compliance report be filed. We grant two weeks' time to the States / UTs to file an appropriate compliance affidavit. The Union of India may also file detailed affidavit within two weeks giving the details of the various compliance of the directions which were issued by this Court", the bench ordered.

On June 11, the Supreme Court had taken suo moto cognizance of reports of alleged mishandling of COVID-19-affected dead bodies, as well as ill-treatment of persons who had been suffering from COVID-19.

On June 12, notice was issued to the Union of India, NCT of Delhi, States of Maharashtra, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, as well as to LNJP Hospital in Delhi. Additionally, status reports with regard to government hospitals, patient care and the details of the staff, infrastructure etc. was sought to be brought before the Court, so as to enable the Court to issue appropriate directions.

On June 19, the Supreme Court, after considering the status reports, issuedmultiple directions and guidelines on aspects of patients' care, hospital management, testing, infrastructure, and strict implementation of the same.

The Apex Court, inter alia, directed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to constitute an Expert Committee to inspect, supervise and issue necessary directions to all government hospitals, COVID hospitals and other hospitals in NCT of Delhi. The matter was then to be listed in the third week of July.

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