The Uttarakhand High Court at Nainital on Tuesday had directed the Secretary, Health, Government of Uttarakhand and the concerned District Magistrate to remove all the shortcomings in the quarantine centers of the State.
The Court said that “What is absolutely necessary is to maintain the quarantine centers at village level, for which proper funds be provided to the “Gram Sabhas”, as contained in the Government Order dated 04.05.2020, for which there has to be a proper coordination between District Magistrates and the panchayat level officers and the elected representatives of the people. Where the “Gram Pradhans”, are presently not functioning, for whatever reason, alternative arrangements shall be made through a designated official by the concerned District Magistrate”.
The Court was informed that many of the quarantine centers are charging from the inmates. On which, the Secretary, Health has apprised the Court that there are hotels earmarked as “quarantine centers”, for which Rs.950/-(Rupees Nine Hundred Fifty only) per person is being given by the State Government, only if a luxury hotel is demanded by the affected person is he being charged.
A Division bench of Uttarakhand High Court comprising of Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Ravindra Maithani heard the batch of Petitions, whereby pursuant to the order issued on 27.05.2020 as modified by order on 28.05.2020, the District Legal Services Authorities had inspected the quarantine centers and had filed their reports before the Court.
The Court on perusal of the reports so filed had made the following remarks by saying that,
“The sense which we are getting after studying these reports is that the quarantine centers which have been established at Village level are the worst of the lot. These quarantine centres in villages are mostly functioning in 4 Government Primary Schools and Secondary Schools. Their condition, as per the reports is pitiable. First and foremost, there are no facilities in these centers to provide food to the inmates. Food is being provided by the villagers and the family members of the inmates. In many of these quarantine centers where the inmates are more than 20 to 30, there are only 1 or 2 toilets. What is most shocking is that the hygienic condition of these toilets is also extremely poor. Most of these toilets are not clean. Apart from this, many of the toilets which are in urban areas are in bad conditions, as these toilets are not being cleaned regularly”.
Also, the Court has sought suggestions from the Health Secretary, Government of Uttarakhand on the reports given by the District Legal Services Authorities
Thereafter, the Court also mentioned that the “Gram Sabhas” are also short of funds and they appear to be in no condition to manage these quarantine centers. The Court then referred to a Government Order on 04.05.2020 passed by the Government of Uttarakhand wherein a duty has been cast upon the District Magistrate to coordinate with the “Gram Sabhas” and “Gram Pradhans” of such villages where these quarantine centers have been established, provide them with funds and see to it that these quarantine centers are properly managed.
“We are afraid that this is not being done properly as of now”, said the Court.
Therefore, the High Court directed the Secretary, Health and the Secretary, Disaster Management, Government of Uttarakhand, who were present before the Court, to pass appropriate orders to the District Magistrates so that their own order passed on 04.05.2020 should be implemented in its letter and spirit and there are enough funds with the “Gram Sabhas” to manage and run these centers.
“We also make it clear that pursuant to our earlier order dated 20.05.2020, where we had directed the State Government that as far as possible the quarantine centers should be established in border districts. We have presently been told that pursuant to the latest guidelines of the Government of India, the earlier restrictions which were existing for coming to Uttarakhand by and large have been lifted”, said the Court.
Lastly, the High Court seeks detailed report to be filed by the Secretary, Health on the next date of listing as to the rapid testing as directed by the Court in its order passed on 20.05.2020.
Read the Order here;Uttarakhand-HC-directs-State-Govt-to-remove-all-shortcomings-in-Quarantine-Centers-of-the-State.
-India Legal Bureau