'Pointing To Flaws Only Creates Fear,' New Gujarat High Court Bench Shares New Observations
Nearly a week after a division bench of the Gujarat High Court pulled up the state government over the poor conditions at the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital calling them "as good as a dungeon, may be even worse", a new bench headed by Chief Justice Vikram Nath has said that "if the state government would not have been doing anything, as alleged, then probably, by now, we all would have been dead".
On May 22, a division bench headed by Justice J B Pardiwala which had been hearing a PIL on COVID-related matters since May 11, had said the state was trying to "artificially control" the COVID-19 situation.
On May 28, a new bench, headed by Chief Justice Nath was notified to hear the PIL pertaining to COVID-19.
"Our message is loud and clear. All those who cannot extend their helping hand in this difficult time. have no right to criticise the functioning of the state government" the bench headed by the Chief Justice said.
It added that pointing to the flaws of the government "only creates fear in the minds of people." It also asked everyone to "be very careful" before commenting on its orders.
"The COVID-19 crisis is a humanitarian crisis, not a political crisis. Hence, it is imperative that no one politicises this issue," the bench said.
It also said that it "would not interfere with the functioning of the state government" and will only step in when the state fails to perform its duty.
The court also directed the state government to mention specific medical protocol for different categories of patients "so that no life is lost because of any kind of negligence".
Pointing to the situation at the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, the court said the "administration has geared up and is doing quite well".
It also said that the hospital now has additional healthcare staff and 47 ventilators, assuring that the court will "keep a close watch" on the hospital.
This is the same hospital was compared to "sinking of the Titanic" by the bench of Justices Pardiwala and Vora on May 22.
"We are very sorry to state that the Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad. appears to be in an extremely bad shape. the Civil Hospital is meant to treat patients. However, it appears that as on date, it is as good as a dungeon. May be even worse than a dungeon," it had observed.
The bench had questioned the state health minister Nitin Patel if he had "any idea" about the challenges faced by patients and staff.
Gujarat has been under the scanner for its poor management of the COVID-19 virus and reports of medical negligence from the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital which contributed to 62% of the total deaths in the state.