Himachal gets 2 days to reply on steps taken to tackle Covid

The High Court takes suo motu notice of two news reports published in The Tribune

Himachal  gets 2 days to reply on steps taken to tackle Covid

Legal Correspondent

Shimla, November 11

The HP High Court today granted two days to the Advocate General to make submissions regarding the steps taken by the state authorities in connection with Covid-19.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice L. Narayana Swami and Justice Anoop Chitkara passed the order on suo motu proceedings initiated on a news item published in The Tribune on September 30 under headline “73% Covid cases reported in Shimla after lifting of curbs”.

During the course of hearing, the Advocate General sought time to make his submissions on the issue. After hearing the matter for some time, the court listed the case for further hearing on November 13. In its earlier order, the court treated this news report as a public interest litigation (PIL) and sought a response from the Central Government and the state authorities.

It was reported in the news that “the easing of restrictions and the lifting of the barrier at Shoghi have led to a spurt in Covid-19 cases in Shimla, as 73 per cent of the total 1,064 cases in the district have been reported in the past 23 days”. It was reported that after the lifting of curbs a large number of people were visiting Shimla city, leading to the spread of the pandemic. As many as 780 of 1,064 cases were reported after September 5. The first Covid case was reported in the district on May 24 and the average of three to five cases per day increased to 34 cases per day after the restrictions were lifted.

HC notice on ward capacity

Taking suo motu cognizance on the news item published in The Tribune under the caption of “IGMC Covid ward packed to capacity after spurt in cases”, the HP High court on Tuesday issued notice to the state government.

Treating the news item as a public interest litigation, a division bench comprising Chief Justice L Narayana Swami and Justice Anoop Chitkara directed the health authorities to inform the court about the steps taken by it to improve the situation.

Expressing concern on the issue, the court appointed Senior Advocate BC Negi as amicus curie (court friend) to assist the court on this sensitive issue. During the course of hearing Ashok Sharma, Advocate General (AG) sought a week’s time to make submissions before the court regarding the news item. Accepting the request of the AG, the court granted week’s time to him to inform the court about the stand of the government.

It was reported in the news item that due to a sudden rise in coronavirus cases, the Covid ward of the IGMC was packed to capacity.

It was mentioned in the news that the scariest stage of the pandemic is when it overwhelms the medical facilities. And the state’s premier hospital, where generally critical patients are admitted or referred to, seems to have hit that stage.

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