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news details
High Court lauds JK, Ladakh Govts for Covid-19 efforts
Seeks report on availability of safety equipment, needs of healthcare professionals
4/4/2020 9:57:29 PM
Early Times Report

JAMMU, Apr 4: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has appreciated the efforts of Governments of J&K and Ladakh on coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and lauded the role of district administrations, police and Legal Services Authority in ensuring continuity of essential services to the people.
Hearing a plea via video conference, the Coram comprising Chief Justice Jammu and Kashmir High Court, Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal sought report from the government on availability of safety equipment to healthcare professionals and ensuring provision of care to dependents/families of healthcare and government personnel or officials engaged in the Covid-19 management.
It also called for considering the possibility of running 24-hour 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.
The High Court directed Administrative Secretary Health and Medical Education to look into this matter and submit a report.
The Coram observed that health officials and other personnel engaged in the Covid-19 management requires them to be out of homes way beyond normal eight-hour duty routines and therefore it becomes necessary to create a network/body of persons who would attend to the needs of the family members/dependents of all personnel (including those in the healthcare services) attending to Covid-19 issues.
It directed the Administrative Secretary Social Welfare to examine and take a decision on creation of machinery for addressing the aspect. “The administration could look to the NGOs/citizen volunteers for mobilising a proper system for this and creation an e-request dedicated mechanism for interaction. A nodal officer would need to be identified for this purpose who would monitor the working of the system,” the Coram added.
With regard to availability of safety equipment, the Coram directed the Department of Health and Medical Education to inform the court regarding the availability of personal protection equipment 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,” the Coram said.
On the issue of safety, care, health and violence against professionals and clinical establishments, the High Court observed that it is painful to note that such a critical matter is being randomly addressed and 19 legislations are in existence in separate States with reports on the matter showing hardly any prosecutions.
“To address the basic issues relating to the current pandemic, it has been necessary to take recourse to the Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897. This legislation has to be visited in the light to technology developments and the current experiences. Thus even the provisions of this enactment need a serious re-examination,” it said.
It directed Administrative Secretary Health and Medical Education Department; Administrative Secretary Social Welfare Department; Director Information Department; Member Secretary JK State Legal Services Authority to immediately take appropriate action as may be required on the aforementioned aspect.
The action plan in this regard shall be placed before us by the Director Information before the next date of hearing, the Coram directed.
During the proceedings, the Coram called for urgent implementation of Jammu and Kashmir Suspension of Sentence Rules, 2020 and steps for grant of special parole to prisoners as envisaged therein on priority.
The court also appreciated the initiative, drive and unstinted hard work of Sushma Chauhan, Deputy Commissioner (Jammu) and Dr Shahid Iqbal Chaudhary, Deputy Commissioner (Srinagar) for their efforts in the two main densely populated cities of Jammu and Kashmir for efficiently leading to detection of the infected, identification of the sources of infection and ensuring continuity of all essential services in the districts.
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