The death of a Punjab government law officer at the Punjab and Haryana high court has raised serious questions over the traffic management system and medical facilities at the HC premises.
Additional advocate general, Punjab, Jaskirat Singh Sidhu had died of cardiac arrest on Wednesday. He suffered attack on Wednesday morning and after preliminary examination at the HC'c dispensary, he was taken to Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector-16.
Now, it has emerged that a vehicle of Punjab advocate general had to be brought in to take him to the hospital from the HC dispensary. This was done considering haphazard parking on several roads leading to the exit points on the HC premises due to which ambulances would get stuck.
"It is true. The AG Punjab's car was called in. Vehicles are parked haphazardly on the HC premises. The step was taken to save time," said president Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association Harpreet Singh Brar.
Two ambulances remain parked at the high court. The patient could be taken in these ambulances to a hospital, while administering first aid, but as they are of slightly bigger size than cars, they are rarely used to ferry patients.
Brar claimed that Sidhu was alive for over 40 minutes after the heart attack. Had he got better medical help at the high court dispensary or taken to Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, his life could have been saved.
Bar body members have also taken up the matter of health centre's upgrade at the high court and parking woes with acting chief justice SJ Vazifdar a day after the Punjab law officer's death.
Besides around 10,000 lawyers, almost same number of visitors from Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh are seen at the high court on any working day. More parking spaces are being sought since quite some time. But a senior Bar body member, who wished not to be quoted, said the problem was also due to lawyers and officials of the high court who parking their vehicles at wrong places, especially on the access roads, further compounding the problem.
"Traffic policemen are there to manage the traffic, but they fear to take any action fearing backlash from lawyers, as in the past any confrontation with high court lawyers had gone against the police and authorities," said the senior Bar member.
Deputy superintendent of police (DSP), traffic, Pawan Kumar, said in first week of June, certain changes were made in traffic management system and entry roads leading to various gates were widened.
"Two-wheeler parking has also been shifted to accommodate more cars from gate number 2. But the problem is also due to lack of space. We have around 20 traffic policemen and home guards to manage traffic at the complex," Kumar added.
When asked about the problem of haphazard parking, Kumar admitted that more cooperation was needed from the lawyers. He, too, admitted of instances of misbehaviour by some lawyers with policemen, when former were asked not to park his or her vehicle on the access roads.