High Court rejects Govt’s inadequate reports on allied issues of COVID-19

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Srinagar: Rejecting the reports submitted by the government on steps taken for ensuring care of the families of those involved in COVID-19 management and desirable public response post removal of the lockdown, the J&K High Court has directed the authorities to place fresh reports on these matters before it by the next hearing.

A two-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Gita Mittal has rejected the report submitted by Director, Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) about ensuring provision of care to dependants/families of healthcare personnel/government personnel/officials engaged in COVID-19 management.

“The report submitted by Shabnam Shah Kamli, Mission Director, ICPS does not give any information regarding the above issue. This report is rejected.  Let a proper report on the issue under consideration be placed before us before the next date of hearing,” the Court ordered.

It also rejected another report purporting to be on the issue of the “Removal of lockdown – desirable public response – provision of information”.

“This report still does not deal with the issue on which the authorities were required to apply their mind. The report only details the steps already taken. It appears that the issue of what would be the desirable public response post removal of the lockdown has not been examined,” the Court said.

The bench said it is deeply concerned about the manner in which the public could be required to conduct itself after reduction of the restrictions post-lockdown, remarking that “it is absolutely imperative that the public is educated about the same as well in advance”.

“Institutions and establishments including, commercial and industrial establishments, need to know as to the manner they would be permitted to work after the reduction/removal of the lockdown restrictions. It would appear that the authorities have not even begun to apply their minds to these issues. The report purporting to be on the issue of the “Removal of lockdown – desirable public response – provision of information” is rejected,” the Court said.

The Court directed Secretary, Health and Medical Education Department; Secretary, Social Welfare Department, Director Information and the Member Secretary of the Jammu and Kashmir State Legal Services Authority to have a meeting within one week and formalize an action plan on the issue. (KNO)

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