Tri HC| Court takes suo moto action, asks State to provide detailed data to tackle with second wave of COVID 19

Tripura High Court: The Division Bench of Akil Kureshi, CJ., and S. Talapatra, J., activated a public interest petition which was initiated suo moto by the High Court last year when the so-called first wave of corona virus was swiping the whole country and also affecting the State of Tripura. For a while it appeared that the corona virus had subsided. However, by way of abundant caution, this public interest petition was kept alive, not realizing that unfortunately, the situation may arise where further hearing of this PIL would be necessary.

While fortunately the second wave of Covid 19 was somewhat delayed in Tripura compared to the other states of the country, the administration had a longer notice and therefore more time to prepare to meet with the challenges. The Court requested the administration to provide further data and make a few constructive suggestions such as the number of testing each day. The Court emphasized on the importance of wearing masks at all public places, to ramp up testing followed by isolation of those who might have recently been in contact with the corona positive patients and lastly, to vaccinate as quickly and as widespread a population as possible in order to control the overall spread of corona virus.

The Court as a precautionary measure requested the State administration to provide an affidavit on the next day of hearing i.e 17-05-2021 with the following mentioned data:

  • Whether there is any scientific model available with the State Government on the basis of which with reasonable accuracy the peak number of corona positive cases per day can be predicted.
  • If so, on the basis of this model it is possible to project the peak requirement of hospital beds with a break up of those required with oxygen and without oxygen.
  • The availability of total number of such beds with and without oxygen supply.
  • What could be the maximum oxygen demand in terms of units/quantity at the peak of the spread of virus and what is the availability of the oxygen with the State administration. The source of continuous supply of such oxygen will also be disclosed.
  • The availability of remdesivir dozes and other life saving drugs including steroids which may be required in emergency for extreme cases of corona infection. The availability of equipments for treating serious cases of corona virus shall also be stated.
  • Whether the hospitals in the State have any special arrangements for pediatric corona patients and whether any such specialized dedicated ward or arrangement is necessary or would be required in coming days.
  • In the affidavit, the deponent has provided the data about the persons already vaccinated for the first time and also second time. The affidavit also states that the State Government has decided to vaccinate the entire population above the age of 18 free of cost.

The Court stated that affidavit shall state the percentage of those who qualify for vaccination have already been vaccinated first time and second time as also when shall the persons above the age of 18 but below the age of 45 shall have excess to vaccination and rough timelines within which the State administration expects to cover substantial portion of the population which is eligible for such vaccination. The affidavit shall also state exact dozes of vaccination currently available with the State administration and further expected availability from time to time.

For Court on own motion: Mr Somik Deb, Amicus Curiae. For Respondent(s) : Mr S.S. Dey, Advocate General. Mr Debalay Bhattacharjee, GA. Ms Ayantika Chakraborty, Advocate.

[Court on its own motion v. State, 2021 SCC OnLine Tri 265, decided on 10-05-2021]

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has put this report together 

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