HC Seeks Report On PPE Availability, Needs Of Frontline Workers

Health workers on standby at quarantine centre in Srinagar. KO Photo: Abid Bhat

Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Saturday sought a report from the administration on the availability of safety equipment to healthcare professionals and ensuring provision of care to families of healthcare and government employees or officials engaged in the fight against COVID-19.

It also called for considering the possibility of running 24-hour canteens in all health institutions to enable provision of the necessities of the healthcare and other personnel engaged in addressing the COVID-19 issues.

Hearing a plea via video conference, the coram comprising Chief Justice Jammu and Kashmir High Court Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal appreciated the efforts of governments of J&K and Ladakh on the coronavirus pandemic and lauded the role of district administrations, police and legal services authority in ensuring continuity of essential services to the people.

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,” it said.

On the issue of safety, care, health and violence against professionals and clinical establishments, the 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.

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.

It called upon concerned principal district and sessions judges to ensure that all visiting judges in jails and also the concerned courts take immediate action based on the recommendation of the high-powered committee (appointed in terms of the order dated March 23, 2020 of the Supreme Court) with regard to prisoners.


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