Cases against obstruction of COVID-19 victim: M’laya HC

Cases against obstruction of COVID-19 victim: M’laya HC
Correspondent Shillong, Apr 17 | Publish Date: 4/17/2020 9:40:51 AM IST

The Meghalaya High Court on Thursday directed the State government to register cases against those who obstruct in the control of COVID19 pandemic.

 A Division Bench comprising of Justice H.S. Thangkhiew and Justice Wanlura Diengdoh, issued a directive after hearing a PIL via video conferencing filed by the Meghalaya High Court Bar Association on Thursday.

The PIL questioned the events that led to the gathering of a crowd at the crematorium at Barapathar that resulted in the body of Dr John L Sailo Ryntathiang not being allowed to be cremated citing that the fumes could cause the virus to spread in the surrounding areas.

While admitting the PIL, the Court said that it is not adversarial litigation and the concerns raised are genuine and serious.

Sailo, the director of Bethany Hospital in Shillong and first COVID-19 positive case in Meghalaya, passed away on Wednesday due to medical complications after infection.

“… the state authorities to take stern action for enforcement of the Rule of Law, especially in the light of the said incidents on April 15, 2020 wherein public had broken the curfew and all social distancing norms, in coming out in protest against the proposed cremation,” the bench said.

“That any person, local body/Durbar Shnong or organization which obstructs the State authorities in the control of the pandemic or any matter connected thereto, such as dead body management, cremation and burial shall be dealt with in accordance with law and cases to be registered under appropriate provisions of law,” he said.

The court also directed the state health authorities to “immediately ensure the testing of the primary contacts and also in the event, the same is not possible to be conducted immediately, to place the persons who have voluntarily come forward in quarantine, till such test has been conducted and to render adequate assistance as required”.

Further, the Court also directed the state authorities to “ensure that adequate assistance is rendered to patients stranded in Bethany Hospital and also housed in the other quarantine facility.”

It also directed to make “adequate food and water” available for which “the help of the civil society can also be availed to procure the same for distribution”.

The Bench also directed to ensure that “personnel are available with adequate personal protection to receive the food packets for distribution to the inmates”.

It also directed the state authorities to “strictly follow the guidelines on dead body management as prescribed by the Government of India and by the World Health Organization” such as the supply of PPEs to the staff, apart from “notifying the same for the information of the general public for their sensitization”.

The state authorities have been directed to sensitize the public especially where the cremation of burial grounds are situated to avoid any further unfortunate incident as witnessed on April 15, 2020.

The state authorities have also been directed to “adhere to the procedure of handling COVID-19 suspects and infected cases as contained in the protocol” issued on March 25, 2020.

VP expresses anguish over refusal of locals to allow cremation/burial of senior doctor

Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu has expressed concerns over the recent issue where the dead body of Meghalaya’s first COVID-19 patient was denied a resting place by the locals in Jhalpura and Nongpoh fearing that it could further spread the disease, reports The Northeast Today.

He said that he was “deeply disturbed” when he came across news reports that cited that there was a delay of 36 hours in the funeral of a senior doctor, who passed away on April 15, two days after he was tested positive for coronavirus.

Naidu in a social media post said, “Such incidents are a blot on the society’s consciousness and of great concern for all of us irrespective of party, religion and region. There is an urgent need to educate the people and remove misconceptions on COVID-19 to prevent such inhuman incidents in future. 

It is a matter of deep anguish that such an incident occurred in spite of the advisory issued by the Central Government in March for the management of dead bodies infected with novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).”

Calling it an “unfortunate behaviour”, Naidu pointed out that such behaviour had forced the Chief Minister Conrad Sangma to intervene into the matter and help resolve the matter.

The vice president had also shared his concerns on the issue with the home secretary and the director of general of Indian Council of Medical Research.

While expressing deep anguish, he said inspite of advisory being issued by the central government last month regarding the management of dead bodies infected with novel coronavirus, such an incident had occured.

He urged all citizens to be empathic and respond compassionately, not react irrationally, especially during these testing times.

“People must act responsibly and not believe in rumours”, he said

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