COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that due to extension of lockdown and closure of schools by the Central and State governments, the poor children are not getting the mid-day meal. As a result, such children are now forced to work to arrange a meal for themselves. The news report has disclosed the facts pertaining to the Bhagalpur district of the State of Bihar wherein an exercise was undertaken to understand the effects of the pandemic especially in Bhagalpur district of Bihar.

Reportedly, earlier the children were able to get roti, rice, vegetables, dal, soya and eggs in the mid-day meal which has now disappeared and the children are not only starving but getting involved in petty dirty works. The people residing in these areas belong to below poverty line, who do garbage collection, begging or working for the contractors to collect waste etc. Their children, who could have some food in the schools, are now starving and suffering from malnutrition. On the other side, the District Magistrate has, reportedly, stated that the money is being sent to the account of children or their guardians in lieu of mid-day meal for the period when the schools are shut.

The Commission has observed that it is concerned that the school going children in other states may not be facing the same difficulties. Accordingly, it has issued notices to the Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy, Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, and the Chief Secretary, Government of Bihar calling for a detailed report in the matter, within four weeks.

The Commission has observed that the mid-day meal scheme of the government is aimed to provide food to the young school going children ensuring protection of their right to food and education. The Article 21-A of the Constitution of India has also ensured Education as a fundamental right and the Right of children to Free and compulsory Education Act, 2009 has been enacted by the Parliament. The facility of mid-day meal in the schools has definitely attracted the young children and their parents towards schools to continue their studies. The scheme has also helped children from the poor background to get education and save themselves from the malnutrition.

It has further observed that apparently amid lockdown across the country, the schools are not functional and the mid-day meal has been stopped due to which poor children are forced to indulge in small jobs which not only spoil their health but also push them towards petty crimes and other anti-social activities. The children in this condition will be prone to drug addiction and trafficking by the criminal elements of the society, involved in illicit activities.

The Commission noted that India is also signatory to United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child. Article 24 of the convention clearly says that the States should recognize the rights of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health. It is the duty of the state to ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right of access to such health care services. It is mentioned in the part (c) of the Article 24 that state government shall take steps to combat diseases and malnutrition. Article 26 has provisions asking the party states to recognize for every child, the right to benefit from social security including social insurance by making national law.

Acknowledging the efforts of the Centre, the Commission observed that the Government of India has no doubt, introduced many schemes to ensure right to food and to ensure that there should be no deaths due to starvation and the young children do not suffer from malnutrition but the facts mentioned in the news report are alarming. The condition of the children is pathetic. This is a serious issue of violation of human rights. The right to life, food, dignity and equality of the children are being violated due to negligent attitude of the state authorities.

According to the media report, surprisingly, for the students of Class I-V, for a period of 15 days, the amount is calculated Rs. 114.21 per children and Rs. 171.17 for the students studying in the Class VI-VIII. A villager has reportedly stated that the government officials had given every ration card holder, 5 kg of rice or wheat, and 1 kg of dal under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY). But for the last many months, nobody has come and we are forced to ask people in the village for food in the absence of mid-day meal. The school children are reportedly now going to collect plastic scrap, waste or to beg to earn Rs. 10-20 for them. The cost of food for a child has been calculated between Rs. 7.61 to 11.41 per day. The residents have stated that they are not getting any money from the authorities even the meager one announced by the authorities.

The principal of Shanti Devi Kanya Vidhyalaya in Sultanganj has reportedly stated that until lockdown-2, some money had come which was transferred to bank accounts for the month of April but after lockdown-2 ended on May 03, 2020, nothing has happened at all. The principal who has 265 children in her school has reportedly stated that the amounts declared by the authorities are a joke. The school teachers have also disclosed that even these meager amounts will not reach the children because the money which is often sent to the bank account for school uniform etc. is also taken and spent by the parents for their use and the children attend the school without uniform.

Former Union Health Secretary, Shri Keshav Desiraju, as mentioned in the news report has stated that online education cannot be the only answer, it can only be supplementary and with mid-day meal, the government must look at ways where food can be delivered to the children at their homes.


National Human Rights Commission

[Press Release dt. 06-07-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Ministry of Home Affairs issues order to extend the nationwide lockdown till 31st May, 2020.

Operative Portion of the NDMA Order:

“Considering the fact that the lockdown measures need to be implemented for a further period in the country to contain the spread of COVID 19, NDMA, in exercise of powers under Section 6(2)(i) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, hereby directs the ministries/Departments of Government of India, State Governments and State Authorities to continue the lockdown measures upto 31st May, 2020. The Authority further directs NEC to issue modifications in the guidelines as necessary, keeping in view of the need to open up economic activities while containing the spread of COVID 19.”

List of Activities “NOT” allowed in Lockdown 4.0

  • Domestic and International Air travel of passengers, except for domestic medical services, domestic air ambulance and for security purposes or permitted by MHA.
  • Metro rail services.
  • School, Colleges, educational/training/coaching institutions etc. to remain closed. Online/Distance learning permitted.
  • Hospital, restaurants and other hospitality services, except those meant for housing/health/police/Government officials/healthcare workers/stranded persons including tourists and for quarantine facilities. Restaurants shall be permitted to operate kitchens for home delivery of food items.
  • All cinema halls, shopping malls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places. Sports Complexes and stadia will be permitted to open; spectators not allowed.
  • All social/political/sports/entertainment/academic/cultural/religious functions/other gatherings and large congregations.
  • Religious Congregations strictly prohibited. Religious places/places of worship shall be closed for public.

Following activities shall be permitted with restrictions, except in the Containment Zones.

  • Inter-State movement of passenger vehicles and buses, with mutual consent of State/UTs involved.
  • Intra-State movement of passenger vehicles and buses, as decided by the States and UTs.
  • SOPs issued earlier to be continued.

National Directives for COVID-19 Management to be followed throughout the country.

Containment, Buffer, Red, Green and Orange Zone

  • Delineation of Red, Green and Orange Zone will be decided by respective State and UT’s.
  • Within the Red and orange Zones, Containment Zones and buffer Zones will be demarcated by District Authorities, after taking into consideration the MoHFW Guidelines.
  • Essential activities allowed in Containment Zones.
  • In Containment Zones: There shall be intensive contact tracing, house-to-house surveillance.

Night Curfew

Movement of individuals to remain strictly prohibited between 7 pm to 7 am, except for essential activities. Local Authorities shall issue orders such as prohibitory order under Section 144 of CrPC.

Persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women and children below age of 10 years shall stay at home, except for essential and health purposes.

States/UTs based on their assessment of situation may prohibit or impose restrictions as deemed fit.

With a view to ensuring safety in offices and work places, employers on best effort basis should ensure that Arogya Setu is installed by all employees having compatible mobile phones.

 

All States/UTs shall allow inter-State and intra-State movement of medical professionals, nurses and para medical staff, sanitation personnel and ambulances without any restriction.

All States/UTs shall allow inter-State movement of all types of goods/cargo, including empty trucks.

Dilution of the said guidelines by any State/UT not allowed.

National Directives for COVID 19 Management

  • Compulsory wearing of face cover in public and work places.
  • Spitting in public and work places punishable with fine.
  • Social distancing to be followed in public places and in public transport.
  • Marriage related gathering shall ensure social distancing and maximum number of guests not to be more than 50.
  • Funeral/last rites related gathering shall ensure social distancing and max. number allowed not to be more than 20.
  • Consumption of liquor, paan, gutka, tobacco etc. in public places not allowed.
  • Shops to ensure minimum six feet distance among customers and not more than 5 persons allowed in shops.

Additional Directives for Work Places

  • As far as possible, practice of work from home should be followed.
  • Staggering of work/business hours shall be followed in offices, work places, shops, markets and industrial and commercial establishments.
  • Provision of thermal scanning, hand wash and sanitizer to be made available at entry and exit points and common areas.
  • Frequent sanitization of entire workplace, common facilities and all points which come into human contact shall be ensured.
  • All persons in charge of work places shall ensure social distancing through adequate distance between workers, adequate gaps between shifts, staggering the lunch breaks of staff, etc.

Access the detailed guidelines issued by MHA, Here:

GUIDELINES


Ministry of Home Affairs

[Order dt. 17-05-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Chhattisgarh High Court order for extension of suspension of the normal functioning of the High Court, District Courts and other Subordinate Courts of the Chhattisgarh State and arrangement for dealing with extremely urgent cases has been extended for a further period of 2 weeks.

The above decision has been taken in view of the extension of the nationwide lockdown.

Read the Order here:

ORDER 


Chhattisgarh High Court

[Order dt. 02-04-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

What the Court Order for suspension of functioning read as?

High Court

Pursuant to Order No.40-3/2020-DM-1(A) dated 01.05.2020 issued by the Government of India regarding continuance of lockdown upto 17.05.2020 and in continuation of this Court’s Office orders No.373/Estt./E1/DHC dated 23.03.2020, No.194/RG/DHC/2020 dated 25.03.2020 and No.R-43/RG/DHC/2020 dated 15.04.2020, Hon’ble the Administrative and General Supervision Committee of this Court has been pleased to order that the functioning of the High Court of Delhi shall continue to remain suspended till 17.05.2020 on same terms.

The arrangements qua mentioning and hearing of urgent matters by this Court through videoconferencing shall continue as before. However, the mentioning link would now be available from 9.00 am to 10.30 am on all working days.

Subordinate Court

Pursuant to Order No.40-3/2020-DM-1(A) dated 01.05.2020 issued by the Government of India regarding continuance of lockdown upto 17.05.2020 and in continuation of this Court’s Office orders No.373/Estt./E1/DHC dated 23.03.2020, No.159/RG/DHC/2020 dated 25.03.2020 and No.R77/RG/DHC/2020 dated 15.04.2020, Hon’ble the Administrative and General Supervision Committee of this Court has been pleased to order that the functioning of the Courts subordinate to Delhi High Court shall continue to remain suspended till 17.05.2020 on same terms.

It is further ordered that the matters listed between 04.05.2020 and 16.05.2020 in the subordinate courts would be adjourned en bloc and information in this regard be uploaded on District Court website.

The other directions contained in this Court’s Office Order No. R-77/RG/DHC/2020 dated 15.04.2020 and in subsequent letters No. R-123/RG/DHC/2020 and R-124/RG/DHC/2020 dated 30.04.2020 be also duly complied with by the District Courts.

To read the detailed Order, please follow the link below:

LINK 1

LINK 2


Delhi High Court

[Orders dt. 02-05-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Extended Cancellation of passenger train services

In continuation of the measures taken in the wake of COVID-19, it has been decided that the cancellation of all passenger train services on Indian Railways shall be extended till 17th May, 2020.

However, movement of migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons stranded at different places shall be carried out by Shramik Special trains, as required by the State Governments, in terms of the guidelines issued by MHA.

Freight and Parcel train operations shall continue, as at present.


Ministry of Railways

[Press Release dt. 02-05-2020]

[Source: PIB]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Consequent to complete lockdown declared by Government of Telangana till 07-05-2020, the suspension of Regular Judicial Work and Administrative Work in the High Court extended till 07-05-2020. However, the High Court will continue to take up pending admission matters, in addition to extreme urgent matters as mentioned in earlier circulars.

Access the Notification here: NOTIFICATION


Telangana High Court

[Notification dt. 25-04-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Pursuant to Order No.40-3/2020-DM-1(A) dated 14.04.2020 issued by the Government of India regarding continuance of lockdown upto 03.05.2020 and in continuation of this Court’s Office orders No.373/Estt./E1/DHC dated 23.03.2020 and No.194/RG/DHC/2020 dated 25.03.2020, Hon’ble the Administrative and General Supervision Committee of this Court has been pleased to order that the functioning of the High Court of Delhi shall continue to remain suspended till 03.05.2020 on same terms.

The arrangements qua mentioning and hearing of urgent matters by this Court through videoconferencing shall continue as before. However, the number of Benches, hearing matters through videoconferencing, would be increased further.

To read the detailed Orders , follow the link below:


Delhi High Court

[Office Order dt. 15-04-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address to the Nation, announced that the lockdown measures imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in India, would have to be extended till May 3, 2020.

In pursuance of this announcement, Government of India has issued directions to all the Ministries/Departments of Government of India, State/Union Territory Governments and Authorities, that the lockdown measures stipulated in the Consolidated Guidelines of MHA, for containment of COVID-19 pandemic in the country, will continue to remain in force up to May 3, 2020.

Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued the order to all States and UTs in this regard. According to the order, with the extension of the lockdown, all restrictions that have been imposed in various sectors, and on various activities, will continue to remain in force. These restrictions, which have been spelt out in the Consolidated Guidelines of MHA, would have to be enforced strictly by all Ministries/Departments of the Government of India and by State/Union Territory Governments and Authorities.

The communication to States and UT’s emphasizes that as per the orders issued by MHA under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the States/Union Territories cannot dilute restrictions imposed via the aforesaid guidelines.

Click here to see the Order to Extend Lockdown Measures


Ministry of Home Affairs

[Press Release dt. 14-04-2020]

[Source: PIB]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

The country is under lockdown to control the COVID-19 since 23-03-2020. However, to ensure that the essential supplies are not affected. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has from time to time issued clarifications on what activities are to be allowed Accordingly, efforts are being made across the country to ensure the essential supplies are not affected and so far, barring certain issues, the supplies have been satisfactory, thanks to the pro-active steps of the Central Government and State Governments.

However, it is felt that certain more activities with reasonable safeguards should be allowed once a final decision regarding extension and nature of lockdown is taken by the Central Government. These new activities are essential to improve the economic activity and provide liquidity in the hands of the people. These suggestions have been obtained on the basis of very detailed interaction of the Hon’ble CIM with the various States and industry bodies, and the feedback received by DoC and DPIIT from various sources. These suggestions have been examined by us and have been recommended for consideration of MHA as new activities to be allowed in addition to those already allowed under various notifications of MHA. These suggestions are given in the Annexure attached herewith for your kind perusal and necessary action. I am sure other Ministries like Agriculture are approaching MHA separately for allowing activities like harvesting etc. that they consider crucial.

Annexure

  1. Industries which shall be allowed to operate must ensure the following:
  • Single entry points for workers
  • Sufficient space for ensuring social distancing
  • Use of separate transport for ferrying workers or make stay arrangement in factory premises.
  • High quality regular sanitization of premises
  • State and District authorities, while allowing these new activities, should ensure strict observance of these conditions.

2. Free movement of all vehicles and manpower required for continuing the activities permitted so far under various MHA notifications needs to be allowed by all government authorities concerned with movement of man and material. We are facing a lot of problems on this and very clear reiteration of the MHA stand to allow free movement of vehicles and manpower in these sectors needs to be done.

3. Big companies with proper sanitisation and distancing norms in place in sectors such as textiles, automobiles and electronic manufacturing (20% to 25% capacity in single shift may be considered to start with.)

4. Those companies / MSMEs with export commitments need to be allowed to operate with minimal manpower and necessary movement of material as a new entity. While granting passes, the concerned authorities may check details of the export commitments and allow accordingly.

5. Further, following industries maybe permitted to start with minimum manpower and proper sanitisation and distancing norms/safeguards on a single shift basis:

  • Heavy electrical items like Transformers and Circuit vehicles
  • Telecom equipment and components including Optic fiber Cable
  • Compressor and Condenser units
  • Steel and Ferrous Alloy mills
  • Spinning and Ginning mills, power looms
  • Defence and defence ancilliary units
  • Cement plans
  • Pulp and paper units (production can be resumed in clusters where COVID 19 cases are low based on the date by the State authorities)
  • Fertilizer plants
  • Paints and dyes manufacturing
  • All types of food and beverages
  • Seeds processing units
  • Plastic manufacturing units
  • Automotive units
  • Gems and Jewellery sector units (big and organized)
  • All units in SEZs and EOUs (Development Commissioners will be given responsibility of ensuring sanitation and distancing norms/safeguards)

In all the above cases, district authorities to monitor and ensure that those sectors which are allowed exemption from ,lockdown need to adhere to safety, sanitation and distancing norms.

6. Industries of the nature of continuous production like steel, power and mining etc. are already exempted under lockdown as per MHA Guidelines and should continue to be allowed.

7. Shifts may be so operated that it does not lead to crowding during beginning/end of shift.

8. Housing and construction sectors need to be allowed if the labourers stay at the sites with all facilities and safeguards. Contractors shall ensure safety, sanitation and distancing norms.

9. All transport vehicles of all sizes, whether inter-State, intra-State or intra-city, need to be allowed, whether empty or full, by all enforcement agencies without asking any question.

10. All employers whose entity is allowed to operate, may be allowed to ask the labourers to report for duty. If labourers do not report for duty, no salary guarantee without work will be the responsibility of the employer. This need to be clarified by Ministry of Labour.

11. All street vendors like fruit and vegetable sellers should be allowed by the State in order to improve doorstep delivery and also to provide much needed liquidity to this population.

12. Certain repairing units like those individuals or small agencies involved in providing repair services in mobile, electrical items like refrigerator, air conditioner, television etc., plumbing, cobblers, ironing (dhobi), electrician, automobile mechanics, cycle repair mechanics should be allowed. However, these individuals should also carry their ID cards and operate at their stalls or traditional sites. This will help the citizens under lockdown to avail these critical services and also provide them cash liquidity, which is required very much. Also, these services do not lead to any crowding. E-commerce entities providing such repair services may also be allowed.

13. Rubber (certain rubber items are essential items related to medical/health care and domestic system related manufacturing items. Such  rubber items may be given priority for starting manufacturing, while keeping in mind the safety, sanitation and distancing norms.

i) Pressure cooker gaskets

ii) LPG hoses

iii) Surgical gloves

iv) Adhesives

v) Hospital rubber sheets

vi) Medical – silicon

vii) Pharmaceutical stoppers for drugs

viii) Latex goods

ix) Trolley wheels for hospital sectors

x) Rubber coated aprons

xi) Adhesives for face masks

xii) Rubber boots / safety shoes

xiii) Catheters

xiv) Medical devices

xv) IV Tubing

xvi) Anaesthesia  bags

xvii) Ventilator bellows

xviii) Rubber valves

xix) Rubber stoppers for IV (Saline/Dextrose) bottles

(xx) Dental supplies (rubber dams, gloves, rubber thread and dental bands), etc.

14. Timber, plywood and wood based industry provides packaging material to pharma companies, FMCG and other companies producing essential commodities. These could also be allowed by State authorities.

15. Glass and foundry industry may be allowed with their minimal manpower to keep the manufacturing in a continuous recycling mode with minimal manpower.

16. Banks and customs should accept digital documents under bonds without insisting on the original document which can be produced when the lockdown is over.

17. All activities related to agriculture inputs, and production, distribution and sale of agro-chemical.