The Jharkhand High Court has directed the state government to apprise the court on the arrangements and steps that have to be taken to combat the surge of the Covid-19 pandemic, in case it affects children across the state. The court also wants the government to make arrangements for juveniles, who are in remand homes and are suffering from Covid-19.
A petitioner has referred to news clippings from the Hindi daily Dainik Bhaskar about 55 non-functional ventilators that had been sent under PM Cares Fund from the competent authority of the Central government. The petitioner highlighted the fact that on the one hand, the state government had filed an interlocutory application for the release of oxygen cylinders lying in judicial custody, while on the other hand, 200 oxygen cylinders are reportedly missing from the medical college at Hazaribagh, for which no legal action has been taken as yet.
The high court stated: “So far as the missing of 200 oxygen cylinders… is concerned, the state government shall apprise this court as to what action has been taken and whether the aforesaid cylinders have been recovered as yet or not.”
The petitioner submitted that as per the news report there is the likelihood of a third wave of Covid-19, which is expected to affect children. But in Jharkhand, even in RIMS, an institute of repute in the state, there is no facility to provide treatment to children. About vaccination, the petitioner said that there needs to be large-scale awareness in rural/remote areas.
The high court directed the government to apprise the court with regard to the status of juveniles in the state who are languishing in remand homes of the district to make arrangements in order to combat Covid-19 infections among prisoners.
The lockdown has also created problems for people who have recovered in places such as RIMS, or are recovering, to thereafter travel back to their native places to stay in isolation. Travel restrictions have prevented them from going back. The plea says that inter-district travel for these people may be allowed.
The court directed the government: “to apprise this Court as to what arrangement has been made for such patients, who have been referred from other districts for treatment to another district and after recovery from treatment how they are being sent to their native place amidst restriction imposed by the state government for movement from one district to another.”
The division bench of Chief Justice Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad gave various other directions in regard to the above submissions:
• The State Government shall also apprise the court on the progress pertaining to Kotwali P.S. Case No. 107 of 2021and other criminal cases instituted for black-marketing of medicines and other equipment.
• The Secretary, Department of Health, Medical Education and Family Welfare, Govt. of Jharkhand shall apprise this court with respect to further steps taken after the appointment of Nodal Officer under the leadership of Deputy Commissioner of each and every district of the State to look after the management of Sadar Hospital and other hospitals of the districts as to how the monitoring system would be made more effective to combat the situation of Covid-19.
• The State Government is directed to apprise this Court with respect to awareness program in the rural/remote areas of the State for making mentally prepare such people for vaccination.
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• The Director, RIMS is directed to bring on record the details of the appointment made on the posts of scientists and lab technicians as also the matter of purchase of medical equipment- CT-Scan machine, cath lab. etc. by way of affidavit to be filed before the next date of hearing.
The matter has been listed for hearing next on May 27.