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news details
DB directs Health Dept to ensure provision of PPEs for healthcare workers
4/4/2020 9:56:54 PM

JAMMU, Apr 4: A Division Bench (DB) of J&K High Court Jammu wing comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) issued various directions to Health Department including ensuring Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for the safety of all healthcare workers.
DB observed that in all hospitals, health care institutions, there are associations of the health care professionals including the resident doctors, faculty members, nurses, the Safai Karamcharis, etc. These personnel are working on the ground and would be aware of the specific difficulties and needs required to address the issue.
DB directed the authorities could consider asking for nominations from these associations and joining them in the discussions and decision making being undertaken towards addressing the current crisis.
DB further directed that the consideration of this issue and decision thereon be placed before us by the Secretary, Department of Health and Medical Education.
DB further observed that the personnel engaged in the treatment of COVID-19 patients and prevention of the infection would be working beyond the call of their routine duties and also overtime. It is possible that the administration may have accounted for such a contingency. However, if this has not been done, the administration may consider the possibility of running 24 hours canteens/kitchens in all hospitals/institutions to enable provision of the necessities of the healthcare and other personnel engaged in addressing the COVID-19 issues. Perhaps, responsible NGOs and citizen volunteers could be joined for regulating these facilities.
DB directed Secretary, Department of Health and Medical Education to look into this matter and submit a report.
DB further observed that it is also essential to address certain specific needs of those engaged in the COVID-19 issues. Management of the current situation requires them to be out of homes way beyond normal eight hour duty routines. Many of them may be having family responsibilities. There could be family members or dependents with health issues, who may be facing difficulties on account of the personnel not being available to attend to their needs.
DB directed that in order to ensure the full attention of the personnel addressing COVID-19 issues, it is necessary that they be kept free of any personal tensions and needs.
Regarding Removal of lockdown - desirable public response – provision of information, Division Bench observed that this is one critical issue has to be also immediately addressed by the authorities. As of now the lockdown has been ordered till the 14th of April, 2020. The situation as may obtain on that day cannot be anticipated.
However, it is essential to be prepared for the possibility of a partial or a full removal of the lockdown restrictions. There are no confirmed reports about the progression of the infection or life of the virus, Division bench observed.
DB further directed that it is therefore imperative to prepare the public about the permissible conduct upon removal of the restrictions (partial or complete); progression of the COVID-19 virus infection and life of the virus; possibility of carriers existing and infecting despite the lockdown and all related information and given the topography of the two Union Territories; remoteness of some of the areas; extent of illiteracy, poverty and difficulties in accessing information by the public, it is essential that widespread dissemination of the above information using all mediums as are available, is commenced forthwith. The Jammu and Kashmir State Legal Services with its wide out reach of Para Legal Volunteers and Anganwadi Workers could be a valuable tool in these efforts.
Upon this Division Bench directed Secretary, Health and Medical Education Department; Secretary, Social Welfare Department; Director, Information Department; Member Secretary, JK State Legal Services Authority immediately take such appropriate action as may be required on the above.
DB further directed that the action plan in this regard shall be placed before us by the Director, Information before the next date.
Regarding availability of Safety Equipments to Health Care Professionals, Division Bench observed that many complaints are being received about dearth of safety kits for health care workers. DB directed the Department of Health and Medical Education inform this court with regard to availability of personal protection equipments for the safety of all healthcare workers. The steps taken to ensure availability of equipment as also the proposals for ensuring the same to all healthcare professionals in Jammu and Kashmir as well as Ladakh should be placed before us before the next date of hearing.
DB further directed that the Rules regarding the ‘Jammu and Kashmir Suspension of Sentence Rules, 2020’ has to be urgently implemented and steps for grant of special parole to prisoners as is envisaged therein be taken on priority.
DB further observed that the Registry has received an e-mail dated 2nd April 2020 from Staff Officer to the Director General of Police (Prisons) forwarding the order dated 1st April 2020 passed by the High Powered Committee (comprising of Justice Rajesh Bindal-J, Executive Chairperson, JKSLSA and its Chairman; Shaleen Kabra, Secretary, Home; B K Singh, DGP (Prisons) and M K Sharma, Member Secretary, JKSLSA. A Corrigendum dated 1st April 2020 to the said order has also been forwarded. These orders make several directions which the District Courts have to comply.
DB directed all Principal Districts and Sessions Judges ensure that the orders of this High Powered Committee are complied with forthwith and compliance report shall be sent by the PDJs to M K Sharma, Member Secretary, JKSLSA before the next date of hearing. A summary of the action report shall be placed before us by M K Sharma, Member Secretary by the next date, the Court directed.
DB further directed the concerned Principal Districts and Sessions Judges shall ensure that all visiting judges in the Jail as also the concerned courts take immediate action based on the recommendation of the Committee in the two orders dated 1st April 2020. JNF
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