'Totally vague': HC warns Telangana govt of contempt notice over wrong info on Covid-19

Referring to the second wave of corona cases in places like Kerala, Delhi and some foreign countries, the bench asked the state whether it is prepared to face the second wave.

Published: 13th October 2020 07:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th October 2020 07:33 AM   |  A+A-

A Sri Lankan health worker sprays disinfectants as people wait to give swab samples to test for COVID-19 near a mobile testing vehicle outside a hospital in Minuwangoda, Sri Lanka.

A Sri Lankan health worker sprays disinfectants as people wait to give swab samples to test for COVID-19 near a mobile testing vehicle outside a hospital in Minuwangoda, Sri Lanka. (Photo | AP)

Express News Service

HYDERABAD:  Describing the 587-page report filed by the State government on Covid-19 issue as ‘cleverly drafted and totally vague’, a division bench of Telangana High Court on Monday warned of issuing contempt notice for misleading the court with wrong information and data particularly on number of deaths being reflected in media bulletins. 

“People should not be kept in dark by giving wrong picture of the pandemic situation. No explanation is given in the report regarding reduction in number of tests per day on weekends, and on the death figures which fluctuate between seven and 13 per day though there is an increase in number of positive cases. Has the State government issued any direction to Lord Yama asking him to take only 10 persons per day? It is indeed shocking that correct figures are not being published by the State,” the bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy remarked.

“Figures are fudged. The report was cleverly drafted to fool the court. We will not permit anyone, including the government, to take the court for a ride. We are not happy with the report and several court orders issued earlier are flouted again. If it is repeated then we have no other option but to ask the state chief secretary to appear again for explanation”, the bench cautioned and directed the government to furnish correct data about Coronavirus deaths in the Sate. 

As per World Health Organistion (WHO), there should be three beds per 1,00 persons in a State, whereas in Telangana, it continues to be 1.3 beds for 1,000 population, it noted. Referring to the second wave of Corona cases in places like Kerala, Delhi and some foreign countries, the bench asked the Telangana government whether it is prepared to face the second wave which might hit the State with the onset of winter and festival seasons, including Bathukamma, Dasara and Diwali. Keeping the state population of about 3.7 crore in view, the government should take steps ensuring adequate infrastructure facilities and increase in number of designated Covid-19 hospitals, beds strength and testing labs to prevent spread of the virus, it said. 

HC directs TS to  increase number of mobile testing vans

Andhra Pradesh is far ahead of Telangana with respect to tests per day, why can’t we?, the bench questioned the State. The bench directed the State government to file a detailed report, including the Covid-19 data pertaining to Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to see the pattern being followed in tackling the disease. It also directed the government to submit the State and District Disaster Management plans by November 19, the next date of hearing.

The bench passed these directions in batch of PILs seeking directions to the State government to provide medical equipment, medicines and trained staff in all the designated Covid-19 hospitals and another batch PILs filed against exorbitant charges being collected by various private hospitals for Copvid-19 treatment.

When advocate K Pavan Kumar, appearing for one of the petitioners, pointed out that the employees of Sanitation and Health departments are being diverted for the State government’s other schemes like updating data on Dharani portal. The bench directed Advocate General BS Prasad and Director of Public Health Dr G Srinivasa Rao to explain the rationale behind the decision.

As for the petitioners’ demand to establish live dashboards in hospitals, the bench directed the authorities concerned to establishing live dashboards at least in Gandhi and Chest Hospitals and to explore the possibilities of such boards in all the Covid-19 designated hospitals in Hyderabad and Rangareddy districts.The bench also directed the State government to increase the number of mobile testing vans in the interest of lakhs of homeless and destitutes.  While posting the matter to November 19 for further hearing, the bench directed the government to inform as to what action has been initiated against errant private hospitals.


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