A plea filed by six retired bureaucrats through Adv. Prashant Bhushan has requested for a commission (formed under Commissions of inquiry act 1952) to initiate an inquiry into the grave mismanagement of Covid19 in India. The petition has been filed by six retired bureaucrats through Adv. Prashant Bhushan.
It was stated in the petition that the he importance of the inquiry resides in the fact that the Respondent has stalled an inquiry by the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) into the Respondent’s response to the pandemic. Key points of the petition are as follows:
- Due to the response of the Respondent to this pandemic, there has been the deleterious impact on the lives and citizens which is a definite matter of public importance and warrants the appointment of Commission under section 3 of the said act;
- The need for the inquiry as Respondent failed to undertake and effective measures for containing the transmission of disease within India despite Being notified by WHO in January 2020. Failed to adhere to the obligations under disaster management act and drawing National Plan under section 11 or issuing guidelines for providing minimum standards of relief to vulnerable sections of society under Section 12;
- Respondent ignored the advice of National Taskforce who are experts in public health and epidemiology, prior to the imposition of nationwide lockdown;
- Respondent did not make timely provisions for the repercussions of the lockdown i.e. loss of jobs, destruction of livelihood, starvation, etc;
- Respondent has led to severe infraction of fundamental rights of people, as there was no effective screening or surveillance on international passenger or no such public awareness campaign in January. Also Respondent displayed lethargy and delay in ensuring adequate supplies of PPE kit.
- Respondent did not make any arrangements for migrant workers for coming back to their home town and people had to walk on roads for kilometers which led to the spread of the virus at unaffected districts. Many of them perished while walking under the burning sun which led to starvation and exhaustion, which held to be part of the right to life under article 21 of the constitution
- Merely 4 hours prior announcement of nationwide lockdown led to the panic situation among citizens, around 6 crore people lost their jobs also most of their livelihood have been abruptly disturbed;
- WHO issued guidelines on 27/2/2020 to countries for ramping up their production of PPEs to meet the global demand, despite this severe paucity of PPEs that took place at a critical time and them on 24th March Respondent informed domestic PPE manufacturers about the specification and quantities of PPEs that would be required. This exhibited an inexplicable delay in scaling up the procurements of PPEs, as health care workers such as doctors, nurses, and other medical staff are at higher risk of contracting the virus and therefore these workers had to give treatment to the covid19 patients without PPE kits putting themselves at immense risk.
The plea demanded independent inquiry by the commission, headed by the retired SC judge along with experts of public health, epidemiology, medical science, law, and social sciences. [READ PETITION]