Sikkim High Court observed the Government of Sikkim of giving false explanations and replies on COVID19 management in the state of Sikkim. Further High Court during the hearing of August mentioned, “while analysing statements comparing with the requirements of Standard Operating Procedures, this court found that the Officer who filed the affidavit has not furnished with correct information”.
“We find that despite bulky explanations filed time to time, nothing concrete has been brought indicating the root facilities available on the Covid Care Centres. How far such explanation of irresponsible officer who is holding the post of Director (Admin), Department of Health Care and Human Services, Government of Sikkim can be accepted and how far the Additional Advocate General can justify the incorrect factual aspect is beyond the reach of understanding of the Court”. Observed the High court
Sikkim High court lighted some examples of incorrect information in which the Court stated that, “In paragraph 11 of the affidavit dated July 27, 2021, it is said in all across the State there are 23 COVID Care Centres (CCC) established which is marked as Annexure R-3. The Human Resources (HR) in these facilities have been deployed in line with requirement as laid down in the SOP. Further, said that each CCC has a Medical Officer (MO) or a Multi Purpose Health Worker (MPHW) as the Nodal Officer as detailed in the list of CCCs. Those Nodal Officers are supported by ASHA/Anganwadi workers and the upkeep facilities are looked after by the Gram Panchayat of the area in the rural areas and Urban Local Bodies in urban areas. When we compared the said statement from Annexure R-3 at page no 886, the details of North District, Mangan has been shown wherein it is not specified that who is the Nodal Officer.”
“It is merely said that one Medical Officer and one paramedical staff has been deployed being Human Resources in each CCC apparently this is not requirement as specified in the SOP and said by the Officer in the affidavit that too without specifying about Anganwadi/ASHA workers”.
The High Court further highlighted how dedicated ambulance is not there for CCCs. The High Court quoted, “The list of equipment as filed for North District Annexure I-A at page no 888, out of total 18 requirements specified in the SOP, seven is not fulfilled, and dedicated ambulance is also not there for the CCCs. Additional Advocate General made an attempt to satisfy this Court that these are the available equipment to which a list has been furnished”. Added the statement
Similarly On being questioned by the court “why in the matter of list of equipment Annexure I-A has been mentioned that Centre (for one month)?” Additional Advocate General replied it to be ‘a clerical mistake’.
In which the High Court further stated that, “If we see the contents of the Affidavit in paragraph 11 furnished by the Officer and on comparison with the SOP it reflects that the requirements have not been complied with”.
Sikkim High Court mentioned that the Court is cautious regarding the matter of Health care facilities to the people to combat surge of covid cases in the state, the court mentioned, “This Court is cautious that it is a matter regarding Health Care facilities to the citizens of the state of Sikkim, in particular, to combat the surge of COVID 19 pandemic, in our view such responses are not acceptable.”
“Having experienced on so many dates we deem it appropriate to observe that the learned Additional Advocate General must appear in this case and apprise the Court regarding the correct position of the facts showing the compliance of the SOP of the Central Government which is atleast a minimum compliance by the State authorities and also on other issues”. Said the High court
Furthermore Sikkim High court highlighted on how the situation since last three months in context to Covid19 has been fluctuating,“Initially it ranges higher, later on it has come down, now again it is increasing gradually and the present percentage of COVID cases reaches between 10 to 12 in the State.”
Sikkim High court showed their dissatisfaction towards the explanation towards the surge in covid19 cases in the state, “The officers who are assigned the duties of COVID 19 management issues are not in a position to identify the probable reasons of increase of cases thereon the effective control ought to be made, showing the indicator of checkpoints in increase of the cases in the State.The bulky explanations filed are not satisfactory or even do not identify the reason of increase”.
Sikkim High Court stated that it’s the State government duty to observe the provisions as contained in the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) corresponding to Article 21 of the Constitution of India in context to the health care and security of the citizens of the state.
Court on its closing remarks stated that, “Therefore, with hope and trust that within two weeks the Advocate General would come forward with the correct and genuine issue/replies and explanations of the previous orders and make his submission in the next date”.
The next hearing is due on September 1.