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The Karnataka High Court yesterday issued a slew of directions pertaining to various issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent lockdown.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice BV Nagarathna passed the following directions.
Identifying Migrants, homeless in the streets
The Court noted that there were two orders issued by the state government and the Commissioner of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) in this regard. After perusing the reports of the Chief Marshal, the Court was of the opinion that none of the submissions filed either by BBMP or by the government disclosed any organized and systematic efforts after April 11 to identify migrants and homeless people on the streets.
It was further observed by the Division Bench that no reports were submitted by the Chief Marshal and the Zonal Joint Commissioners pertaining to the steps taken to identify the homeless persons on streets.
The Court also directed the state to clarify whether people staying on the streets could continue to do so in the present condition.
Additionally, the Court asked the the Additional Chief Secretary of the Urban Development Department to consider whether the Disaster Management Cells can be involved in locating homeless people on the streets.
Persons with no ration cards
On this issue, the Court was intimated that those persons who were having shelter but not in possession of ration cards had not received ration kits in terms of the policy launched by the State Government.
Considering the issue, the Court requested the members of the Bar to inform the Additional Government Advocate about the specific areas or localities where food kits or ration kits have not been delivered. This would enable the Government or BBMP to take necessary action in such places, the Court remarked.
On the point of improving effectiveness of hunger helplines, the Court stated that the matter would be taken up on May 5.
Issues faced by Farmers
In this regard, the Court directed the Advocate General to place on record whether any machinery had been set up by the state government at the grassroots level, taluk level and district level in order to address the grievances of the farmers.
Further, the counsel appearing for PUCL submitted that a forum had been made available by the state government so that the representatives of the farmers can put forth their everyday issues.
Last week, the Karnataka High Court had sought the response of the state government while dealing with a petition questioning the breach of social distancing guidelines at the wedding ceremony of Nikhil Kumaraswamy, son of former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy.
The Division Bench also urged the State to address the issue of the availability of PPE kits at the grass root level, taluk and district levels.
Additionally, the state government must also respond on the implementation of price control order governing N-95 masks and hand sanitizers in the state of Karnataka, the Court directed.
The matter has now been posted to be taken up on May 5.
[Read the orders here]