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Life too short, we request people with folded hands to cooperate and follow COVID-19 norms: Gujarat HC

"We are now left with only one thing to do and that is to request the people with folded hands to cooperate with the authorities and follow the norms and protocols prescribed and take care of themselves", the Court said.

Lydia Suzanne Thomas

Taking suo motu cognizance of the rising number of COVID-19 infections in the State of Gujarat, the Gujarat High Court has entreated people to keep themselves safe by following safety norms and wearing masks.

The Bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice JB Pardiwala noted that "people at large" were not "cooperating" with the government's measures to tackle the spread of the virus. The Court emphasised,

"It is high time we all start doing something progressive rather than keep chasing the Covid 19 all the time. Life is to short to do all this. Therefore, the norms and protocols, as prescribed by the State Government, time to time, needs to be scrupulously followed."
Gujarat High Court

The Judges additionally took note of how young men and women, boys and girls were gathered at the most happening places in Ahmedabad during the evening, many of them without masks. Terming this as unfortunate, the Court stated:

"At this point of time, we are now left with only one thing to do and that is to request the people at large with folded hands to cooperate with the authorities and follow the norms and protocols prescribed and, more particularly, take care of themselves individually.
"If each individual takes upon himself the responsibility of protecting his life, such endeavor will surely bring around very good results, and within a short time, we may be able to overcome the Covid 19 Pandemic."
Gujarat High Court

The Court exhorted political leaders to serve as examples to their supporter-base, adding that a failure on their part to follow norms would prompt the populace to follow suit.

Upon a specific submission from Senior Advocate Ansin Desai that the State government was hiding the true figures of coronavirus infections and deaths in the State, the Court advised the State to disclose the numbers so that people could comprehend the seriousness of the situation.

"It is necessary to disclose the true and correct figures of the Covid deaths and Covid positive cases so that people may be able to understand and comprehend the seriousness of the situation. People will not take things for granted", the Court said.

However, the Court refused to entertain or discuss the allegations that the State was suppressing COVID-19 numbers or to call upon the State to clarify the same. Describing it as a highly disputed statement of fact, the Court expressed that it accepted the daily numbers released by the State Government.

In the course of its Order, the Court also lauded the government for its efforts in containing the virus but advised against playing on the back foot in containing infections.

The Court pointed out that the State was revving into action only after the number of cases rose. The rise in infections could have been averted if the State had take precautions beforehand, the Judges opined.

Taking the example of how the State responded to rising cases in Ahmedabad, the Court directed the Government to set the same measures into motion in the rest of the State as well.

Notably, the Bench lauded Nursing and MBBS. students who offered their services for COVID-19 relief work. Speaking about the importance of their services given the overwhelmed state of health infrastructure, the Court said:

"It is no easy job being on Covid duty. The nature of the virus is such that it arouses fear in the strongest of minds. The High Court is delighted and at the same time thankful to the medical and Nursing students who have decided to lend their service and knowledge in this fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. They may not be Doctors or Nurses but they can play the role of necessary members of the care team."
Gujarat High Court

The Court, in its suo motu proceedings that began in August this year, has been taking stock of the State government efforts in coping with the pandemic.

The matter is next expected to be taken up on October 9, 2020.

Read the Order here:

Suo Motu v. State of Gujarat.pdf
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