HC invites complaints against negligent Covid officialsUpdated: Aug 02, 2020 23:42 IST
Observing that public servants had not taken adequate measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 in rural areas which saw a spike in recent days, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court (HC) has decided to receive complaints against negligent officials.
The order was passed after the bench undertook an inspection visit to Jalna court and found that Covid-19 cases were increasing rapidly as officials were not conducting proper checks on persons returning from Mumbai and Pune.
The bench, in an earlier order in response to a suo motu public interest litigation (PIL), had said that it would conduct inspection of various areas to check whether reports of public servants not doing their duty diligently were true.
A division bench of justice TV Nalawade and justice MG Sewlikar, while hearing the suo motu PIL initiated after reports that many public servants assigned to Covid duty had been absent or were not contributing towards the containment of the spread, had passed orders asking authorities to take strict action against errant public servants. The court had also said that it would undertake inspection of Covid care centres, hospitals and health care centres to see whether public officials had returned to duty.
During the hearing of the PIL on July 31, the bench observed that the Aurangabad administration had done a good job in containing the spread of the virus, but in Jalgaon, Nanded and other areas under the jurisdiction of the bench there have not been efforts to check persons coming from Mumbai and Pune.
The court observed that during its visit to Jalna court it had seen that the officials had a very casual approach and were not asking travellers for required passes, which led to a rapid increase in Covid cases in rural areas. The court also observed that unlike cities, rural families did not disclose information if anyone contracted the infection and the authorities failed to anticipate this situation.
The court then directed the authorities to follow up on whether their orders were being adhered to. “The authorities may send some persons in disguise to confirm that the officials at such points are doing the duty. Unless that is done, things will not improve,” the bench said.
It further said, “This court is now feeling it necessary to allow all those persons who have grievance with regard to the care and treatment of infected persons and others to approach this court directly. They may give grievance in writing to this court either by post or on e-mail or through advocate.”
The court then directed the public prosecutor to see that the part of order, particularly the intention of the court to consider individual complaint, is given publicity up to village level and posted the matter for hearing on August 4.