Telangana HC blasts police, govt. for complacency in checking COVID-19

The Telangana High Court in Hyderabad. File   | Photo Credit: K.V.S. GIRI

The Telangana High Court on Tuesday came down heavily on the police and the State government, observing that they were presenting a rosy picture of “coronavirus under control” while the “ground reality is completely different”.

Also read: Telangana Chief Secretary inspects COVID-19 outpatient services

A Bench of Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy directed the Police Commissioners of Hyderabad, Cyberabad and Rachakonda Anjani Kumar, V.C. Sajjanar, and Mahesh Bhagwat respectively to “put your heads together” and let the court know how they were planning to check the spread of COVID-19 by 2.30 p.m. The Police Commissioners attended the hearing virtually.

When Advocate General B.S. Prasad sought time till 3 p.m. stating that the State Cabinet was meeting at 2 p.m. to “take some decisions”, the Chief Justice said the outcome could be conveyed during the hearing and wanted the three Police Commissioners and Public Health Director G. Srinivasa Rao to be ready with a plan of action.

The Advocate General sought permission on behalf of Mr. Rao stating that the latter was occupied in the conduct of the Cabinet meeting.

The Bench was scheduled to hear a batch of Public Interest Litigation petitions on COVID-19 on Thursday but advanced the hearing to Tuesday after coming to know about the grave situation people were facing due to the second wave of the pandemic.

Also read: Demand for oxygen peaks as COVID-19 cases on the rise in Telangana

As soon as the hearing began, the Chief Justice bombarded the Police Commissioners with several questions. Citing media reports, the Chief Justice said rules such as physical distancing and wearing face masks were thrown to the wind in the State capital, especially in the Old City, and the police were remaining mute spectators. “We will hold the top officials responsible for this….buck should stop at the top officer…what is the local police doing when social distance is not followed, face masks are not worn..?” the Chief Justice said.

Expressing serious concern over police not checking religious congregations in different parts of the State capital, the CJ said the “head of the officers will roll” if the court directions on steps to check the spread of coronavirus were not enforced. Referring to the lower testing and positive cases, the Chief Justice said the government was trying to present a “rosy picture” and convince the court that everything was “hunky-dory”. When the Advocate General said the government was reviewing the situation, the CJ asked him “why does the government want to review when everything is under control”.

The Bench took a serious note of police not permitting an ambulance with COVID-19 patients to enter Telangana from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. “Is this fair? Is this humanity? Who gave the oral orders to stop that ambulance with coronavirus patients?” the CJ asked the AG.

The Bench recalled its previous directions to the State government to consider the extension of night curfew hours and weekend lockdown. Soon after the High Court passed the orders, the officials held a press conference observing that “people can be safe inside their homes”.

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Printable version | Jun 23, 2021 12:24:12 PM |

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