The Telangana High Court on Monday expressed outrage over the state government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis and disclosure of related information.
Upset over non-implementation of its earlier orders on issues related to the pandemic in the state, the court on Monday directed senior officials, including the chief secretary, to appear before it on July 28.
A division bench, comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy, while hearing a batch of PILs on the COVID-19 situation and condition of hospitals in Telangana, expressed unhappiness over the lesser number of COVID-19 tests being done, as compared to other states.
Pulling up the government, the bench commented that the people are left to their fate" and questioned why the government was not providing all details in the COVID-19 cases daily bulletin.
Expressing dissatisfaction on the report submitted by the government on COVID-19 data, the bench opined that there would be stringent action over non-compliance of its directions and questioned why the court shouldn't issue orders to suspend the officials concerned for non-compliance of the orders.
When Advocate General BS Pradsad said the government is preparing a software to integrate data of private and government hospitals on COVID-19, the court said, “How long will you drag it? The numbers are rising like anything. The virus has spread to remote villages and tribal hamlets. When will you wake up?”
The court further directed the government to submit a full report with supporting documents. It directed that Collectors publish on a daily basis, the information on the number of positive cases in their respective districts. This should be further tabulated by the Health Department and published on a daily basis in the medical bulletin.
The court also directed that the Health Department website be restored to its original position and to continue reveal the facts and figures which it had and publicised prior to being taken down.
The bench wanted the information to be disseminated to the common man, so that they can take precautions and noted that despite these directions being issued by the Court, the government was continuously failing to carry them out.
The court directed the Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary of Health, Director of Public Health and Family Welfare and Director of Medical Education and Commissioner of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation to appear before it on July 28.
On one of the petitioner's allegations about the death of a few COVID-19 patients over alleged non-availability of oxygen, the court directed the government to ensure that sufficient oxygen facilities are made available at all notified COVID-19 hospitals.
It also directed the government to increase rapid antigen tests and to submit reports before it in both the matters.
Despite passing appropriate orders, the same was not implemented by the state, the High Court had said in one of its earlier orders, terming it as "sorry state of affairs".
(With inputs from PTI)