Court directs government to reveal fund utilized to combat COVID-19 pandemic

Written By: / Monday, 20 July 2020 18:22

Except for the CM COVID-19 Relief Fund; no details for utilization of fund during COVID -19 pandemic revealed even after 4 days of the HC directives
IT News
Imphal, July 20:

A division bench of the Manipur High Court comprising of Justice Lanusungkum Jamir and Justice Kh. Nobin Singh has directed the state government to furnish all information relating to all kind of action taken up for combating COVID-19 crisis including the one relating to spending public money, infrastructure, manpower, facilities etc. in the quarantine centres and in particular, the institutional quarantine centres. The directives was given along with various other directives while announcing judgment order on July 16, 2020 in connection with a PIL filed to streamline the irregularities being notice while combating the COVID-19 pandemic . However, except for the utilization of the Chief Minister’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, none of the government department, including the state Health Department have revealed the details of the expenditure utilized in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The State Government shall share all the information, without any discrimination except those which are exempted under the provisions of Section 8 of the Right to Information Act, 2005, with the general public relating to any action taken by it towards combating COVID-19 crisis including the one relating to spending public money, infrastructure, manpower, facilities etc. in the quarantine centres and in particular, the institutional quarantine centres for combating COVID-19 crisis”, the division bench directed the stated government .
The PIL filed by one J. Hillson Angam, from Senapati District in Manipur through his counsel M Rakesh pray the court to issue a writ in the nature of Mandamus or any other appropriate writ or direction thereby, directing the respondents to call for records with regards to quarantine facilities in the State and to monitor the development on a weekly basis; to pass an order directing the respondents to set up adequate and proper quarantine centre in all the districts of Manipur to accommodate the returnees; to pass an order directing the respondents to follow the recommendation issued by World Health Organization and National Centre for Disease Control for implementing quarantine; to pass an order directing the respondents to provide doctor visits daily to all the quarantine centre, including the community/ village quarantine centre; to pass an order directing the respondents to ensure that the quarantine facility provides clean and a hygienic environment by sanitizing and disinfecting the premises on a daily basis; to pass an order directing the respondents to appoint a sanitation worker in each ward to sanitize and disinfect the toilets and rooms surfaces touched frequently at least once a day; to pass an order directing the respondents to provide clean bed sheets, towels and hot water daily to the patients in their rooms; to pass an order directing the respondents to appoint an attendant in each ward to assist the inmates in getting essential items like food, soap, sanitizers, bed linen, etc.; and to pass an order directing the respondents to appoint a counselor at the quarantine facilities to provide psychological support and remove psychological fear and panic amongst all quarantine people and healthcare professionals/ staffs including doctors, nurses, sanitation workers and security personnel.
Following the PIL the Manipur Human Rights Commission also inspected the quarantined centers being open in the state and found some of the quarantine centres are located within the village.

The Commission in its observation stated that Toilet and bathroom provided in the majority of quarantine centres are inadequate and lacks basic facilities including water supply.

The Commission felt inadequate on the allocation of rupees 200 per inmate per day to cover his/her meals, drinking water it also observed that the release of the allocated amount was either due or delay. The commission presented observation on the running of the QCs and the problem being faced by the inmates at quarantine centers has been well observed by the division bench of the Manipur High Court.

After hearing the counter affidavit from the respondents , the divisions bench gave the following orders:

-            The State Government shall constitute a committee consisting of experts only within a week from the date of receipt of a copy of this order, if not already done, which shall collect all the relevant data, discuss with the stakeholders including CSOs, farmers, persons who are unable to earn anything because of the lockdown etc., analyze the detailed aspects and keep on submitting reports to the State Government from time to time [29] PIL No. 16 of 2020 Contd…/- so that the same can be placed before the High Level Consultative Committee headed by the Hon ble Chief Minister, Manipur for consideration and to take appropriate decisions accordingly;

-            The State Government shall consider to constitute various committees consisting of experts only, probably, in all major Departments which shall collect information, relevant data, discuss with the stakeholders including CSOs, farmers, entrepreneurs, workers etc., assess the impact of the COVID19 crisis and submit their reports with suggested remedial measures to the State Government through their respective Departments so that an effective action plan can be made well in advance;

-            The State Government shall share all the information, without any discrimination except those which are exempted under the provisions of Section 8 of the Right to Information Act, 2005, with the general public relating to any action taken by it towards combating COVID-19 crisis including the one relating to spending public money, infrastructure, manpower, facilities etc. in the quarantine centres and in particular, the institutional quarantine centres for combating COVID-19 crisis;

-            The State Government shall frame an exhaustive rules and regulations to regulate the functioning of the State Government towards combating COVID-19 crisis or modify [30] PIL No. 16 of 2020 Contd…/- suitably the existing SOP, depending upon the change of circumstances touching on all aspects of the matter and keeping in mind the shortcomings, difficulties, drawbacks, complaints from the public etc. faced by the State Government in the recent past, to meet any kind of eventuality so that there would be no occasion for the public to raise any voice;

-            The Manipur Human Rights Commission is requested to submit its bill to the State Government towards the expenditure incurred by it while conducting the spot inquiry within a week from the date of receipt of a copy of this judgment and order and in the event of such a bill being submitted by it, the State Government shall consider it and if found correct and proper in order, shall make the payment thereof as quickly as possible, preferably within a month from the date of receipt of the bill.  

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Sh Ajit

Sh Ajit

Sh Ajit, a resident of Khongman, Imphal East is a regular contributor of Imphal Times mostly news photo and articles. He is a father of a lovely son. His favourite quote is " A Picture is worth Thousand words". He can be contacted at [email protected]

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