Covid-19 second wave: Madras High Court raps Centre over preparedness
Chennai The Madras high court on Thursday asked questions of the Centre on preparedness and management of the Covid-19 pandemic, saying that the Union government should have acted in an informed and planned manner rather than taking ad-hoc measures.
“Why are we acting only in April now even though we had time for one year?’’ asked the court.
The bench comprising chief justice Sanjib Banerjee and justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy made the observations when the counsel for the central government, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) R Sankaranarayanan, submitted a list of measures taken by the Centre to contain the spread of the second wave.
The submissions were made during the hearing of a suo motu case taken by the court to monitor the preparation of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in handling the second wave of the pandemic.
“I have not met any respectable doctor who has advised the guard to be dropped over the last few months... even if doctors have not advised, who are the experts the Centre has been consulting? We are in this state of absolute despair despite having lockdowns for most of last year,” the court said in its response to the ASG’s submissions that experts were looking into the surge.
The chief justice also raised the issue of the pricing of Covid-19 vaccines and the crash of the server running the CoWIN application. The ASG assured the court that he would submit a detailed report by Friday.
Regarding Tamil Nadu, advocate general Vijay Narayan said at the hearing that it may not be necessary to impose a lockdown on May 1 before the election counting day.
“It’s a public holiday and also the first day of vaccination for people who are above 18,” he said. The government would, however, close all the meat and fish stalls to avoid crowding, he added.
However, there would be a lockdown on counting day, May 2, which falls on a Sunday and the state has already imposed a full lockdown on Sundays. The state submitted that there will be no public gathering outside the counting venue and has directed social distancing, disinfection, ventilation in counting centres, number of counting tables as per the size of the room, thermal scanners, sanitisation, and PPE kits for counting agents.
Accepting the submission, the bench appealed to all political parties to not have any mass congregations or celebrations at the time of counting to avoid the spread of Covid-19.