On May 27th 2021, Thursday, the Manipur High Court directed the state government to indicate the steps taken by it to put in place a long-term plan for meeting future challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A division bench presided by Chief Justice Sanjay Kumar and justice Kh Nobin Singh commented that unless the State administration is in a state of preparedness, it would be difficult to cope with the fresh challenges that may come up in future owing to mutation of the virus coupled with foolishness of the general public.
The court noted that citizens foolishly continue to ignore COVID-19 protocols and the prescribed standard operating procedures despite the imposition of curfew across the state.
The court ordered that, “effective measures have to be taken in this regard by the state duly balancing and protecting the fundamental rights of the citizens.”
The bench asked the government to ensure compliance with the directions passed by it in the previous year in a PIL titled J. Hillson Angam v. State of Manipur and others, laying down a long-term plan order to tackle the coronavirus crisis.
The High Court thus ordered:
“The government ought to constitute many committees of experts in respect of different problems relating to various department viz. finance, education, health home, agriculture, horticulture, industries etc. which will collect data, discuss with stakeholders including CSOs and assess the impact of COVID-19 crisis taking into account the actions already taken by the State Government under the short-term plan.
Moreover, the court has ordered the Additional Solicitor General to file an affidavit detailing the measures taken by the National Task Force (that was constituted by the Apex Court earlier this month to assess good situation across the country) insofar as they impact the state of Manipur. The court has also sought a response on the financial assistance to be extended to the State of Manipur to meet this crisis.
The court was also informed that government of Manipur has constituted an audit-sub-group on Medical Oxygen under the National Task Force.
The duties of the above-mentioned group primarily concerned medical oxygen supplies, utilization and accountability in relation thereto.
The High Court has directed that in addition to oxygen supply the group will also collect requisite data on the following aspects, so that the same is made available to NTF or effective planning and implementation of the future course of action.
- Availability of essential drugs and medicines.
- Preparedness to meet present and future emergencies that may arise during the pandemic.
- Availability of manpower for outreach to rural areas.
- Availability of medical personnel.
- Evidence based research to enhance effective responses to the pandemic.
- Best practices to promote knowledge about the management of the pandemic.
This case is now listed for hearing on 2nd June 2021 Wednesday.