Tamil Nadu

HC requests Health Secretary to assist court in taking stock of COVID-19 situation in T.N.

The Madras High Court on Wednesday requested Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan and Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation (TNMSC) Managing Director P. Umanath to appear through video conference on Thursday, if they were otherwise not preoccupied with any urgent COVID-19 related work, to apprise the court of the action being taken to ensure availability of hospital beds, oxygen, ventilators, drugs and COVID-19 vaccine in the State.

Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy also wanted to know the steps being taken to curb black marketing of drugs, such as Remdesivir, since a 25-year-old doctor Mohammed Imran Khan and a few employees of a government general hospital in Tiruvannamalai had been arrested recently on the charge of procuring the drug for ₹8,000 from the government hospital and selling it in the black market for ₹20,000 a vial.

During the hearing of a public interest litigation petition, taken by the court suo motu, to monitor the action taken by the governments to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the judges found that no top-level law officer of the State entered appearance since all of them had resigned following a change in the government. Only a Government Advocate appeared, and he too did not have any latest data regarding the measures taken by the State government.

Therefore, the judges urged the Health Secretary and the TNMSC Managing Director to assist the court in taking stock of the situation. “We want to find out what is happening on the ground now. Change of government does not mean that we drop our guard or that we do not continue the measures. There should have been somebody to tell us what is happening,” the Chief Justice remarked before deciding to hear the case again on Thursday.

Making it clear that the object behind the suo motu PIL was only to monitor the steps taken by the government and not to assume the role of experts or to issue directions, the Chief Justice also said: “We won’t tell you to do this or that. You have the authority. It is just to remind you that human life is more important than anything else. Other things can wait for a few days. We can wait for our entertainment but human life is of greatest importance.”

The Chief Justice also expressed concern over way too many COVID-19 positive cases being reported in Puducherry and said that the numbers appeared to be alarming given the small size of the Union Territory. He asked the Puducherry Government Pleader N. Mala also to be prepared with the statistics and data related to the Union Territory when the court hears the case again on Thursday.

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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 8:32:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/hc-requests-health-secretary-to-assist-court-in-taking-stock-of-covid-19-situation-in-tn/article34493793.ece

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