Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Tripura High Court: Arindam Lodh, J.,  while terming the doctors as “frontline warriors”, directed the Investigating officer to conduct Test identification parade to ascertain the real offenders responsible for harassing a doctor.

Dr Sangita Chakrobarty was serving as District Health Officer, West Tripura, and was discharging her duties as, in-charge of distribution of COVID-19 patients. Five post-delivery mothers long with their new born babies, who were tested COVID-19 positive, were sent to a COVID Care Centre to ensure maximum safety and were kept under the surveillance of Dr Chakrobarty.

Some of the previously admitted older patients started protesting indiscriminately demanding that they would not allow entry of any new patients in the centre. The protests turned graver shortly and situation worsened. Dr Chakrobarty tried to calm down the protestors, however, they abused her, threw sexually coloured remarks, spat on her face and exhibited more of such uncivilised behaviour. Complaint against these patients was filed by the Director of Health Services, Government of Tripura.

The petitioner was one of the alleged protestors, and therefore, came before the High Court under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for grant of anticipatory bail.

The counsel, Raju Datta, for petitioner argued that the name of the petitioner had not been transpired in the complaint, there was no accusation against him, and on this ground alone, the petitioner should be granted anticipatory bail. High Court raised a question before him, whether mere apprehension of arrest attracts the ingredients of Section 438 of CrPC to which Mr Datta, submitted that mere apprehension of an arrest does not attract the ingredients of Section 438 of CrPC for granting anticipatory bail.

Bench looked into the relevant sections of CrPC. and the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, to consider the bail application. He further explained the importance of doctors in society and especially during the time of COVID-19 when doctors have become the “first-line defence of the country”.

Adding to the above, Court labelled the protest which took place as “detrimental to the sentiment, safety and security of the Doctors and the entire society of our nation as well as of this state.” Therefore, keeping in mind the objective of the latest Epidemic Ordinance, he directed the Investigating Officer to record the confessional statement of the victim and her supporting staff under Section 164(5) of the CrPC.

Bench directed the Investigating officer to arrange for Test Identification parade to identify the real offenders. [Karnajit De v. State of Tripura,  2020 SCC OnLine Tri 353, decided on 30-07-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Prathiba M. Singh, J., constituted a committee to finalize the process in regard to the issuance of digital degree certificates for the students of Delhi University while directing the same Bench also observed that,

Obtaining a degree, which should have been a cause of celebration, has been turned into a complete nightmare for all these doctors who ought to have been busy rendering medical services during the pandemic.

Petitions filed were with the intent to reflect upon the sorry state of affairs at the Delhi University. Petitioners are all doctors and graduated their MBBS course in the year 2018 and 2019 and yet have been struggling to get their original degree certificates.

After failed approaches to the University, petitioners have reached out to the Court.

In an earlier petition, Court had observed that DU ought to make alternative arrangements during the COVID-19 pandemic for issuance of digital certificates, digital mark sheets and digital transcripts online along with digital signatures and security features.

Reason cited by DU for delay in issuance of the degree certificate was non-availability of paper and the fact that DU’s contract with the printer had expired.

Further, it was observed that Court was informed that steps were being taken for printing the degree certificates in an expedited manner. Despite this being the position, the tender for printing degree certificates was not finalized and it was only yesterday i.e., 3rd August, 2020 that the tender was opened. 

In an affidavit it has been informed to the Court that a Committee has been formed for looking after the security of sensitive data of academic awards, manpower requirement, University revenue, etc. 

“…looking at the urgency for the degree of the petitioners specially the medical doctors/professionals who have already completed their degree from University of Delhi and also other urgent specific cases, the University will initiate measures so that their degree can be delivered to them on priority basis and for that purpose the related data shall be given to the Digilocker to generate their digital degree.

Further, the University will develop a system to address such type of cases in a time bound manner so that degree certificate can be provided digitally.”

Insofar as Digilocker is concerned, the Court is informed that DU has registered on Digilocker only yesterday i.e., 3-08-2020.

Bench observed that despite the sufficient time being made available to the Delhi University, it is clear that adequate steps have not yet been taken to set up the process for issuance of digital degree certificates.

There is a completely callous attitude being reflected towards the plight of students.

Further, an affidavit filed by DU is lacking in several respects – in the name of the portal, the link to the portal, the form to be filled for obtaining the digital degree-certificate and is not providing a sample of the degree certificate to be issued.

Obtaining a degree, which should have been a cause of celebration, has been turned into a complete nightmare for all these doctors who ought to have been busy rendering medical services during the pandemic.

Hence in view of the above, Court constituted a Committee, which shall finalise the following:

a) The online link on the DU portal where the students can put in applications for issuance of their digital degree certificates. Alternatively, an e-mail address shall be provided where the Petitioners and similarly placed candidates can write an e-mail to obtain their degree certificates;

b) The timeline after receipt of the said email for verification and issuance of the degree certificate with the digital signature;

c) Template for the degree certificate to be issued by email;

d) Official to be responsible for affixing the digital signature and issuance of the same;

e) A sample degree certificate in favour of one of the Petitioners, duly signed with the digital signature, shall also be generated;

f) Timelines for transmission of past data to Digilocker from DU;

g) Timelines for transmission of data periodically to Digilocker so that students can easily access their certificates, transcripts, mark sheets, awards, etc.

Status report to be submitted on 07-08-2020 and matter for hearing is to be listed on the same date. [Dr Akshita Khosla v. University of Delhi, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 926, decided on 04-08-2020]


Also Read:

Del HC | “No reason why DU should not adopt technically advanced methods”; Court suggests DU to issue degree certificates online through email

Case BriefsCOVID 19Supreme Court

Supreme Court: On the issue revolving around the timely payment of salaries of doctors and health workers during the period of COVID-19, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench of Ashok Bhushan, R, Subhash Reddy and MR Shah, that those doctors and health workers, who are quarantined, their period of quarantine cannot be treated as leave and he will obtain necessary instructions/clarifications in that regard.

He has further told the Court that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has passed an order on 18.06.2020 directing for payment of salaries of doctors and health workers during the period of COVID-19 on time and that five States i.e. Delhi, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tripura and Karnataka have not paid the salaries to the doctors and health workers on time to the full satisfaction. He, hence, submitted that appropriate steps in this regard shall be taken by the Central Government to ensure that salaries of doctors and health workers is released.

The Court has listed the matter on August 10, 2020 after Solicitor General sought for a week’s time in the matter.

On June 17, 2020, a 3-judge bench of Ashok Bhushan, S K Kaul and M R Shah, JJ directed the Centre to issue directions to states for payment of salaries and providing necessary quarantine facilities to doctors and healthcare workers engaged in treating COVID-19 patients. Earlier, the Court had observed,

“In war, you do not make soldiers unhappy. Travel extra mile and channel some extra money to address their grievances.”

[Dr. Arushi Jain v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 615 , order dated 31.07.2020]



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Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court:  A Division Bench of Dipankar Datta, CJ and Sarang V. Kotwal, J., took up a matter highlighting the concern regarding the inflated charges for Personal Protective Equipment Kits (PPE) by private hospitals and nursing homes.

Petitioner raised the concern that in view of the pandemic, private hospitals and nursing homes have been charging for Personal Protective Equipment Kits on a cost more than the procurement costs.

In view of the above stated concern, petitioner sought a direction for imposing a cap on the prices of PPE Kits charged to COVID/NON-COVID patients in private hospitals and nursing homes.

P.P. Kakade, Government Pleader a/w Nisha Mehra, AGP for State.

Ish Jain a/w Kiran Jain a/w Amruta Thakur for respondent 4.

Therefore, Court directed the parties to file affidavit stating their responses after which on 07-08-2020, the present PIL will be taken up for further consideration. [Abhijit K. Mangade v. State of Maharashtra, 2020 SCC OnLine Bom 827, decided on 28-07-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Pratibha M. Singh, J., while addressing the matter with regard to issuance of degree certificates of students from Delhi University held that,

DU ought to take a pragmatic approach in this matter and seriously consider the option of setting up a special cell, which would entertain requests of students on email, for digital-certificates, mark-sheets, transcripts etc. and installing the software necessary for issuance of degree-certificates with security features, to be sent online through email in a timely manner.

Petitioners graduated from Lady Hardinge Medical College, Delhi in 2018 but have not received their degree-certificate till date.

Petitioners submitted that they wished to apply for their residency programmes in the United States and to sit in the USMLE examination. As per the petitioners, the date by which the degree-certificates would have to be uploaded for processing to the ‘My ECFMG’ mobile application would be 15th August, 2020.

Court has repeatedly faced petitions by students of Delhi University seeking their transcripts and degree-certificates.

Students especially doctors providing their services during the COVID-19 pandemic ought not to have been forced to approach this Court for seeking their degree-certificates, especially when they graduated two years ago.

For the above stated grievance by the students, Dean has not responded.

Bench stated that, there is no reason as to why DU should not be adopting technically advanced methods to ensure that the students are not inconvenienced.

Further adding to the above, it was stated that students ought not to be forced to approach Courts for issuance of their mark-sheets, transcripts, degree-certificates etc., which ought to be issued in the natural course within a reasonable time. [Dr Akshita Khosla v. University of Delhi, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 830 , decided on 22-07-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo moto cognizance of a media report stating that the healthcare workers, who are at the maximum risk to contract the corona virus infections are facing refusals/demands for high premiums to buy group Mediclaim policies.

Reportedly, as Covid-19 cases continue to rise and the government offers little clarity on insurance cover for private healthcare professionals doing non-Covid work, and there is a scramble to find the right policy.

It is further stated that while most doctors have a medical cover, the struggle has mainly been about ensuring protection for their staffers. Moreover, as mentioned in the news report there is also confusion whether the Rs 50 lakh health cover provided by the Central government for healthcare workers included private doctors, staffers and also those doing non-Covid work.

Accordingly, The Commission has issued notices to the the Chairman, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority and the Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Insurance Division, Union Ministry of Finance calling for a detailed report in the matter within 4 weeks, positively.

Issuing the notices, the Commission has observed that in this period of pandemic, what the country needs most is proper health facilities and infrastructure. Denial of insurance claims by the companies to the Covid Warriors will definitely bring down their morale and its result will adversely affect the general public at the end. Considering the issue as a case of violation of human rights , the Commission thought its intervention necessary in the matter as the sufferers will be poor citizens who are already under trauma of the Corona virus due to lack of medical facilities.

According to the media report, Dr Sudhir Naik, in charge of the medico-legal cell of the Association of Medical Consultants (AMC) has reportedly said that no insurance company wanted to cover the Covid-warriors. He has stated that the authorities have been forcing us to keep our clinics open, but the staffers are apprehensive about working. The medical fraternity is reportedly pinning its hopes on the standard Covid-19 policy which the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has asked all the insurance providers to design by June 15.

Reportedly, several nursing home owners in the city have been scouting for a group cover, but with little success. The companies have refused to extend even the fixed benefit covers. Here the beneficiary is paid a lumpsum on testing positive. The sum assured can vary from Rs 20,000 to Rs 2 lakh, and annual premium is relatively low.

As per news report, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has said that a company which earlier agreed to extend a fixed benefit cover of up to Rs 2 lakh to its members, pulled out of the deal after Covid-19 cases began to rise in the state. The IMA has reportedly stated that the company has returned the premium paid by around 150 doctors who had already signed the documents.


NHRC

Press Release dt. 12-06-2020

Case BriefsCOVID 19Supreme Court

Supreme Court: A 3-judge bench of Ashok Bhushan, S K Kaul and M R Shah, JJ directed Centre to issue directions to states for payment of salaries and providing necessary quarantine facilities to doctors and healthcare workers engaged in treating COVID-19 patients. The Court directed that the said direction be issued by tomorrow i.e. 18.06.2020.

While hearing a plea filed by a private doctor raising questions on the Centre’s May 15 decision that 14-day quarantine was not mandatory for doctors, the Court asked the Centre to file a compliance report within four weeks on payment of salaries and quarantine facilities to doctors and healthcare workers and warned that non-compliance would be viewed seriously.

Doctor Arushi Jain, in her petition, had alleged that front line healthcare workers engaged in the fight against COVID-19 are not being paid salaries or their wages are being cut or delayed.

Senior Advocate K.V. Viswanathan, appearing for the petitioner submitted:

  • doctors and health workers are not receiving their salaries regularly, hence, a direction is necessary to the State Governments, Central Government and all other concerned authorities to ensure that salaries and emoluments of the doctors and health workers are timely paid, who are front-line warriors.
  • with regard to quarantine, there are no details of appropriate accommodations.
  • doctors or health workers, who are directly looking to the patients in COVID ward are not given the facility of quarantine as per guidelines dated 15.05.2020 unless they are covered by high risk exposure.

“a doctor, even with PP Kit, who deals with the COVID patients and devotes time with the COVID patients, has to be given quarantine to protect himself and his family.”

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre submitted:

  • so far as the payment of salary to the health workers and doctors are concerned, appropriate orders shall be issued by the Central Government in exercise of power under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 which may be communicated to all the State Governments and Union Territories for compliance. The said order shall be issued by tomorrow itself.
  • with regard to doctors and health workers, who are directly looking after the COVID patients and are in touch with the COVID patients, are not denied the quarantine. Looking to the requirement of doctors and health workers to manage the hospital, quarantine period should be initially for one week only and thereafter taking the profile of the health worker a decision to be taken for further period of one week

The bench directed that necessary directions be issued by union health secretary and chief secretaries of the State by tomorrow.

On June 12, the top court had observed,

“In war, you do not make soldiers unhappy. Travel extra mile and channel some extra money to address their grievances.”

It had said that the courts should not be involved in the issue of non-payment of salary to health care workers and government should settle the issue.

Senior advocate K V Viswanathan, appearing for the petitioner, had said that if doctors on COVID duty are not provided accommodation near hospitals their family/friends are exposed to higher risk of infection. He had said that doctors and other healthcare workers, who are engaged in COVID duty, run a great risk of exposure of infection without proper PPE kits and without proper accommodation, their family members are also at higher risk of infection.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in it’s affidavit said,

“number of cases of COVID-19 are constantly increasing and at some point of time in near future, apart from existing hospitals, large number of temporary make-shift hospitals will have to be created in order to accommodate COVID-19 patients requiring admission, medical care and treatment.”

On April 8, the Court had observed that doctors and medical staff are the “first line of defence of the country” in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, and directed the Centre to ensure that appropriate PPEs are made available to them for treating coronavirus patients.

[Dr. Arushi Jain v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 515 , order dated 17.06.2020]

(With inputs from PTI)

 

COVID 19Hot Off The PressLegislation UpdatesNotifications

UPDATE

Order regarding shortage of staff in the non-COVID hospitals due to infection of Doctors and Staff, is kept in abeyance till further orders.


Earlier Order

It is reported that many doctors, nurses, paramedics and other staff in non- COVID hospitals are either getting infected or reported as contact to infected person and Medical Directors of respective hospitals are indiscriminately sending them in quarantine either at hotels or their homes for 14 days. This practice is causing unnecessary shortage of doctor & staff at the Hospitals. It seems, it is happening because either hospitals are not following standard SOPs or such persons are not following guidelines prescribed tor health care workers.

Thus, All Medical Directors are directed to obtain written explanation from an such person as how these persons got infected or become a contact in spite of wearing required protective gears, maintaining safe distance and following precautions prescribed for health care workers.

Further, Medical Director is required to constitute a team of Doctors to ascertain whether a contact, fulfils the Govt. of India guidelines to be declared as the contact of positive patient.

To access the official Orders, please click on the link below:

Order 1

Order 2


Government of NCT of Delhi

[Order dt. 01-05-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare while acclaiming the spirit of Doctors and Health Professionals at the forefront in the fight against COVID 19 stated that adequate measures are to be taken for ensuring the safety of them.

Several measures have been taken from time to time. The same have been Annexed with the letter attached below.

Some of them are under the following heads:

  • Human Resources
  • Medical Safety
  • Staffing guidelines and timely payments
  • Psychological Support
  • Training/Capacity Building
  • Life Insurance cover.

Please refer to the letter and measures as enumerated above in detail by clicking the below link:

Letter & Measures


Department of Health and Family Welfare

Ministry of Health & Family Welfare

[Dated: 20-04-2020]

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Calcutta High Court: A Division Bench of Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan, CJ and Arijit Banerjee, J.noted the following while addressing the present petition,

“…push forward the efforts taken by this nation including the State of West Bengal in fighting the pandemic COVID­19 which is a matter of grave concern for all stakeholders and the entire citizenry of this nation.”

Petitioner sought direction to the respondent authorities to make widespread and rapid testing among the population of West Bengal for COVID 19 for early detection and prevention of further spread.

Further direction on the respondent authorities is sought for taking immediate step to convert Calcutta Medical College for use only to house COVID­19 patients and also for improving health infrastructure by arranging sufficient test kit and/or protection measures for doctors to make it compatible to combat the present pandemic situation.

Adding to the above, petitioner also sought direction to ensure supply of food materials to all sections of marginalized people including migrated workers, pregnant women, young mothers and children.  

Petitioner sought an order from the Court directing the State to prepare and submit before the Court a plan for rapid testing and/or increasing the amount of testing for COVID­ 19 among the population in West Bengal

Bench stated that while the Government has issued advisory to the Health Authorities in the State regarding testing of samples as per ICMR’s latest testing protocol, it tends to indicate that more than 300 samples are tested daily.  

“…it is necessary that the official respondents give a deeper look to the requirement of more number of samples being collected and subjected to tests on war­ footing.”

Court also stated that, having regard to the fact that the ICMR testing protocol and WHO guidelines require adherence to effective screening on war ­footing, Bench needs to be told by the State as to the acceleration of the rate of sample collection and testing which is being obtained on the aforesaid basis.

State Government is expected to place a report on the following:

quarantine, managing the COVID­19 cases, that is to say the doctors, nurses, para­medical persons and the other health service oriented persons as well as those coming into regular close contact with such situation, there is deficit in facilities for their protection and safety from the point of view of health.

WHO and ICMR being expert authorities in the field, their guidelines and advisories are required to be followed by all stake­holders.

Matter to be posted on 23-04-2020. [Dr Faud Halim v. State of W.B., 2020 SCC OnLine Cal 738 , decided on 17-04-2020]

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Madras High Court: A Division Bench of N. Kirubakaran and R. Hemalatha, JJ. while hailing and appreciating the round the clock service of Corona warriors asked the authorities concerned to subject the doctors, health workers, sanitisation workers, policemen  to regular testing.

Petitions have been filed pertaining to seeking

  • direction to respondent to provide and ensure medical assistance irrespective of all COVID-19 affected patients at free of cost
  • Direction to respondent 2 to constitute a State Level Executive Committee to assist the State Government/State Disaster Management Authority to perform its functions in preventing & controlling the COVID-19 and constitute a District level Disaster Management Committee to prevent and control the COVID -19 and direct the respondent 2 to notify and approve the ‘COVID-19’ isolated wards in Government & Private Hospitals with free of costs for treatment and testing and handling all suspected persons who arrived from foreign country 01.03.2020 onwards, keep them into special quarantine camps.
  • provide personal protective equipments (PPE) especially for doctors, nurses and hospital staffs in COVID-19 wards
  • to quarantine a section among the workforce of essential services for future catastrophe of COVID-19.

Petitioners counsel submitted that, so far no Community kitchens have been opened. Also sufficient number of masks and PPEs are not available.

Additional Advocate General on behalf of the respondents submitted the number of PPEs and masks along with testing kits available, adding to the said he submitted that supply is regularly coming and numbers are increasing.

With regard to non-supply of food, it was submitted that, Rs 1000 is being given to the people holding ration card and free ration and groceries is also being provided. Thus, nobody is suffering for want of food.

Another point submitted by petitioner’s counsel was that, about 45,000 persons including 100 Doctors and 3500 Para Medical Staffs have registered for voluntary service, their services are not being utilized. In the said regard, AAG submitted that he would verify the same and inform the Court in next hearing.

Court concerned with health condition of Doctors, Health Workers, Sanitary Workers and policemen stated that they should be given break sufficiently.

They should also be subjected to regular testing by the Authorities.

Bench stated that,

Court hails and appreciates the round the clock service rendered by Doctors, Health Workers, Sanitary workers and Policemen in the fight against dangerous pandemic which is threatening the entire humanity.

Thus, Court hopes and expects the respective government would appreciate the warriors and their services with increase in their salaries. Matter to be listed in 2 weeks.[S. Jimraj Milton v. Union of India,  2020 SCC OnLine Mad 916, decided on 09-04-2020]

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Telangana High Court: A Division Bench of Sri Raghvendra Singh Chauhan, CJ and A. Abhishek reddy, J. while addressing a Public Interest litigation posed questions with regard to availability of Personal Protective Equipment along with steps being taken by State government to ensure the essential items being provided to the public.

Petitioner sought a order or direction in  the nature of Writ of Mandamus declaring inaction of respondent providing proper quarantine to passengers who came from abroad to the State of Telangana from 01-02-2020 to 25-03-2020 fro 14 days and non-providing of Medical Personal Protective Equipment, N-95 Masks to Doctors, Para-Medical Staff working for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 Pandemic in State of Telangana.

Further it was added that non-import – manufacture of Medical Equipments like diagnosis kits of COVID-19, Ventilators, PPE, N-95 Masks, sanitizers etc. for the protection of life at large and non-supplying of daily essential goods like foods grains at reasonable prices, etc. to the unorganized sector was also the issue.

Direct the respondent to supply in door delivery daily need essential goods at reasonable prices and also diagnosis of COVID-19 to the people at hime in lockdown till no COVID-19 Positive get into the record in State of Telangana.

Bench Held:

Advocate General has been directed to submit an interim report with regard to issues raised by the petitioner. He is also directed to inform the Court with regard to the availability of Personal Protective Equipments to doctors, medical staff, para-medical staff working in hospitals throughout the State of Telangana.

Further the Bench also directed to inform the Court about concrete steps being by the State Government to ensure that daily consumable items, including food items and medical items being made available to the public at large.

Complete report to be submitted on ore before 15-04-2020. Matter to be listed on 09-04-2020 along with an interim report. [Prof. P.L. Vishweshwar Rao v. Union of India, WP (PIL) No. 59 of 2020, decided on 06-04-2020]

COVID 19Op EdsOP. ED.

“You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honour.”

-Aristotle

So did you come across the various selfies with bruises on faces due to wearing of masks for long hours, being posted by the Doctors, Medical Staff, etc. who are in direct contact with the COVID-19 patients?

Well, if not, then the fact that doctors around the world are working round the clock to protect “us” and protect the ones who are already affected by Corona Virus (COVID-19) is something that each and every individual out there, reading this should not only just be overwhelmed on knowing this, but have a bit of gratitude towards them and their families.

Doctors — Heroes without any capes, are looking out for us every second when we are under this extreme crisis mode of COVID-19, when the cities look deserted but the hospital’s ain’t.

As the days are passing the situation is intensifying, we as citizens quarantined in our air-conditioned homes with stocked up fridges have only been given one task — to release 1/4th of the pressure that our heroes are facing which is by staying at home.

The Hippocratic Oath is the one that Doctor’s take to treat the ill to the best of one’s ability, to preserve a patient’s privacy, to teach the secrets of medicine to the next generation, and so on; And clearly the fighters have stood by the same without any doubt.

It is not some test where they have to prove that whether they are standing by the same, in fact it is for us individuals to see and appreciate the extents to which our Heroes can go on to — to save lives by risking their own.

Standing in comforted balconies/terrace and applauding for them for few minutes in unity was something they were worthy of but on our part just by doing that for those few minutes and then instantly forgetting the purpose of doing so would be a mistake that generations will not forget and history will remember.

If they are standing by their duty and roles while facing the worst of circumstances standing in the frontline to protect the nation selflessly then the least we can do is to stand in solidarity for the courageous men and show our gratitude to them and not throw them out of our houses as has been recently reported from several States in India.

Every individual who have a privilege of such doctors, nurses or people from medical field living as tenants in their houses or in their locality should not treat them as untouchables or make them at the receiving end of their discomfort or hatred, need of the hour is to protect these warriors and their families as they are protecting us in the fight of the deadly virus — COVID-19.

If they are providing us the best of services in their ability without any discrimination, then which part of our conscience allows us to make them feel unsafe?

Recognize and acknowledge the efforts that our medical field is providing us with in these hard times, just this one thought might stop us from doing the wrong to them and raise us to show kindness and gratitude to them.

“..And let’s remember this decade as the decade of our warriors ..”


† Legal Editor, EBC Publishing Pvt. Ltd.

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Andhra Pradesh High Court, Amravati: A Division Bench of J.K. Maheshwari, CJ and M. Satyanarayana Murthy, J. asked the State Government to ensure provision of all required equipments to Doctors, Nurses, Ward Boys and Paramedical staff to combat COVID-19.

The present petition has been filed to sought direction from Central and State Governments with regard to supply of precautionary equipments like N-95 masks, sterile medical gloves, starch apparels to all the Doctors, Nurses, Ward Boys and staff concerned within 24 hours, amidst the pandemic caused due to COVID-19, and maintain a register with regard to usage of those items.

B. Krishna Mohan, ASG submitted that State Government has already taken the necessary measures and if any other additional measures are required then the same would will be fulfilled by the State Government.

It has also been pointed out that the Doctors and the Paramedical staff who are in the field and providing primary medical aid to the citizens must also be kept in isolation to prevent spreading of COVID-19.

Court on perusal of the above, stated that State Government shall ensure to provide all necessary equipment like N-95 masks, sterile medical gloves, starch apparels, personal protection equipment and all other necessary things to all the Doctors, Nurses, Ward Boys and Paramedical staff.

Further the Court added that,

“In view of the appeal so made by the Hon’ble Prime Minister and the instructions so issued by the Central Government, Ministry of Home Affairs, dated 24.03.2020, it is the duty of the State authorities and their functionaries to provide necessary medical facilities to the citizens with all the above-said equipment and accessories, as and when required. The Doctors and the Paramedical staff are also supposed to do the needful to save the citizens of the society and the nation.”

The petition was disposed of with above directions. [Dr Koilagandla Niranjan v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine AP 65, decided on 26-03-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

It is hereby notified for information of all concerned that from Tuesday, the 17th March, 2020 the cause list will be published for only those matters which are urgent in nature and mentioned before the respective Benches for listing.

The doctors working in the medical unit or appropriate personnel shall be there at all entry points i.e. Gates ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘E’ of the Main Building and also at the Centenary and the Sesquicentenary Buildings of the High Court with thermal guns to check the temperature of every entrant, be it Hon’ble Judges, the learned Lawyers, staff or litigants. If someone is found to have a fever, immediate follow- up action shall be taken by the doctors stationed at such points including restricting of entry.

The Registrar General shall write to the State for increase of the strength of doctors for the High Court and to provide thermal guns in adequate numbers. Request for similar measure be made to the State for all District and Sub- Divisional Courts.

The presence of staff in all Courts in the State shall be reduced by at least half and the office shall ensure that the staff work on rotation.

Courts should not insist on the presence of the parties, unless it is unavoidable. Appropriate measures be taken to regulate entry of the litigants and the general public in the Court Complex to avoid crowding.

The President and the Secretary of the three wings of the Bar of the High Court and the President and General Secretary of the respective District Court Bar Associations are requested to issue necessary directions in order to ensure that there is no crowding in the Court complex including the lawyers chambers. The Hon’ble Judges and the Bar would also ensure that interns are not permitted in the Court complex till the present situation persists.

All Bar rooms are requested to be closed except for the purpose of learned lawyers obtaining their belongings therefrom.

The lawyers may advise their clients not to visit the Court unless their presence is directed by the Court or is unavoidable.

Till the present situation persists, no adverse/default orders be passed in matters where parties are found to be absent. This will apply even to matters listed on Monday, the 16th March, 2020.

Instead of physical production of undertrial prisoners (UTPs) from jails, facility of video conferencing be availed of.

Registry for the High Court and the District Judges for the sub-ordinate Court shall ensure that sanitizers are available in all Court Rooms and all Deparatments and also in the respective Court complexes for the visitors as well as the staff. Housekeeping agency/staff be asked to ensure that highest level of hygiene is maintained in the Court complex and disinfectants are sprayed on a regular basis.

All activities in the Judicial Academy be postponed from Monday, the 16th March, 2020 until further orders.

All Hon’ble Judges may leave the Court complex and release their staff as early as possible.

Absence of staff on a particular day because of this advisory, shall be treated as ‘On Duty’.

The situation shall be reviewed on Friday the 20th March, 2020.


Calcutta High Court

[Notification dt. 15-03-2020]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): Justice V.K. Jain (Presiding Member), while disposing of the present application with respect to negligence of doctors, noted a very significant point, that,

“A doctor writing a prescription advised by any doctor cannot be said to be negligent only on account of his writing such a prescription.”

In the present case husband of the complainant visited OP-2 (Dr Sandeep Agarwal) in Sahara Hospital, Lucknow. Later he was admitted there for a day; during his stay at the hospital his pathology tests were done and it was found that his serum creatinine was found to be excessive from what is to be in the range prescribed.

No investigations or treatment for monitoring and management of high creatinine which was found in his reports indicating kidney disease was advised to him during the time of discharge and nor was he asked to consult the Nephrologist for the said purpose. On being admitted again to the hospital, he was seen by OP-2 as well as OP-3 (Dr Muffazal Ahmed). OP-3 had informed the family of the deceased and the deceased as well of suffering from the end-stage renal disease for which he required dialysis.

Further, it was stated that the complainant was allegedly given iron injection during his stay at the hospital though such injection according to the complainant was contra indicated in case of a person suffering from kidney disease. He was also prescribed iron injection without checking his ferritin level.

Complainant also stated that medicine Metformin was advised to the deceased which was again contra indicated in his case. Medicine named Liofen was also prescribed to him which was also contra indicated in the deceased’s case.

In view of the above, complainant alleged negligence on the part of OPs in the deceased’s treatment. Complainant thus approached the Commission seeking compensation for damages.

The above complaint has been resisted by the opposite parties.

Case of OPs is that they thought that the serum creatinine level might have increased due to dehydration. The discharge summary, however, does not record any such assumption. Even if the opposite party / treating doctor was of the opinion that high creatinine level could be due to dehydration, the least expected from him was to note it down in the discharge summary and advise the patient to get his creatinine level checked regularly, since the said level would have come down in due course had the same been caused by dehydration. Considering the high level of creatinine the OP-2 ought to have suggested consultation by a nephrologist to confirm the cause of the increase in serum creatinine. Therefore, it would be difficult to say that the OP-2 was negligent in the treatment of the complainant, he had not given any treatment or advise to him for the monitoring, management and treatment of the high level of serum creatinine found nor having advised him to consult a Nephrologist during the course of his treatment.

It is to be noted that ‘Encicarb’ was advised to the deceased to be infused daily for two hours for two days after a detailed discussion.

Treating doctor should first get the TSAT and Ferritin level of the patient checked before initiating ESA therapy. Admittedly, ferritin and TSAT of the complainant were not got checked soon before 18.3.2014 when intravenous iron Encicarb was advised to him. His ferritin levels were last checked on 10.12.2013 and more than three months had already expired by the time iron injection encicarb was advised to him on 18.3.2014. In view of the guidelines issued by Indian Society of Nephrology advising the injection Encicarb on 18.3.2014, without checking TSAT and ferritin was an act of negligence on the part of the opposite party No.3.

Tribunal on noting the material submitted by the complainant and considering the facts and circumstances of the case found OP-2 and 3 to be negligent in the treatment of complainant who died during the pendency of the complaint. Since OP-2 and 3 were working with OP-1, the said opposite party is vicariously liable for the negligent acts of OPs 2 & 3.

The next question for consideration was with respect to the quantum of compensation. Though the complainants have claimed compensation running into crores of rupees, the facts, and circumstances of the case do not justify such a huge and fanciful compensation. The complainant was alive when this complaint was instituted and he died during the pendency of this complaint. There is no evidence to prove that the complainant died on account of the deficiency attributed to the opposite parties in his treatment. His creatinine level was pretty high even at the time it was checked in Sahara Hospital.

Thus, Complainant was entitled to an aggregate of Rs 30 lakhs. [Gyan Mishra v. Sahara India medical Institute Ltd., 2019 SCC OnLine NCDRC 333, decided on 07-11-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu and Kashmir High Court: The Bench of Sanjeev Kumar, J., disposed of a petition with the direction given to the petitioner to apply for study leave from the post of Medical Officers in State Health Department to undergo PG Medical Courses in Government Medical Colleges of the State.

The facts were that the petitioner was appointed as Medical Officer in 2019. In the meantime, the petitioners also applied for Entrance Examination, i.e. (NEET) for undergoing PG Medical Courses in Government Medical Colleges of the State. The petitioners qualified the NEET examination in 2019. It was submitted that since the petitioner was serving as Medical Officer in State Health Department, he should be allowed to undergo Post Graduation in the discipline, which should be allotted after applying study leave as per notified rules.

The Court held that in case the petitioners intended to join PG Course, they would either have to forgo the appointment or apply to the respondents for study leave, if permissible. They cannot be permitted, on their own, to undergo PG courses while being in the service of respondent-department. Such unauthorized absence from duty would entail loss of appointment and discharge of the petitioners from their appointment. Thus the Court held that the petitioners were free to apply for study leave. It might be the case that they might not be eligible to get the study leaves till they complete their three years’ mandatory service as required under the aforesaid SRO, but the Government, in appropriate cases to mitigate individual hardship, may relax the aforesaid three years prescription. The minutes of meeting of the Commissioner/ Secretary Health and Medical Education stated that “…6. to facilitate the career progression of the in-service doctors who have not completed their three years of service/probationary period may also be allowed to pursue their PG Courses with the condition that the period spent by them on PG Courses shall be treated as leave”.

Thus the petition was disposed of by permitting the petitioners to approach the respondents for grant of study leave. [Sukhil Raina v. State of J&K, 2019 SCC OnLine J&K 291, Order dated 01-04-2019]