Telangana High Court Issues Contempt Notice Against Health Dept For Not Increasing COVID-19 Tests

Telangana high court contempt notice to Director of public health on coronavirus testing - Sakshi Post

HYDERABAD: The Telangana High Court on Thursday issued Contempt Notices against Dr. G. Srinivas Rao, Director, Public Health, and Family Welfare, for wilful disobedience, despite the High Court's specific orders over not increasing Covid-19 tests.

The division bench, comprising Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Bollam Vijaysen Reddy, was dealing with a batch of 20 public interest litigations (PILs) related to various issues involving the frequency of coronavirus tests and treatment in the state of Telangana.

The Director was instructed to take up 50,000 tests from November 19 to November 25, 2020, apart from one-lakh tests once every week as ordered by the HC. As per the reports submitted by the Department of Public Health showed tests conducted were between 40,000 to 47,000 throughout the week.

Upset over the wilful disobedience of its orders by the Director, the HC issued the Contempt Notice and granted the Director two weeks’ time to explain in detail why action should not be initiated against him under Contempt of Court’s Act.

Divisions Bench Observations

Government not conducting enough tests

The Chief Justice observed, “That the government is purposefully keeping the number of tests at the lowest ebb and this court, with an intention of precaution, reminds that more tests be conducted. But the state seems ill-prepared in tackling the Second Wave of Coronavirus”.

The number of tests here is very low compared to other states. The HC stated that, for every ten lakh (million) population in AP, 1,85,025 people were tested. 2.95 lakh in Delhi, 1.67 lakh in Kerala and 1.39 lakh in Telangana.  Tests should be increased immediately and should not be less than 50 thousand per day.

Inaction in initiating disciplinary proceedings against corporate hospitals

The bench also made scathing remarks against the government for its inaction in initiating disciplinary proceedings against a few private hospitals for fleecing Covid-19 patients. In the past six months, action was taken against only two hospitals. Whereas no action was taken against other corporate hospitals when the number of complaints were high.

Yashoda Hospitals was in the top list with 33 complaints, Sunshine Hospital at 14, Care Hospital at 10, KIMS at 10, Medicover at 8 and Virinchi Hospitals at14

"If you do not take action, we are not going to keep quiet,'' the bench observed.

Increase testing labs

The government promised two months ago that it would increase six RTPCR test labs in addition to the existing 17. But two months later, only one lab was set up,” the HC observed.

Counselling Centres

Two months ago the HC had also ordered to set up counselling centres for people and those who had lost their jobs due to pandemic and were undergoing psychological problems, but that was also not implemented, it observed.

The PILs were adjourned to December 17, and the HC directed the government to file its report by December 15.

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