On March 26, 2020, the High Court addressed various concerns that had arisen due to the 21-day lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19 in India. The court has laid out clear guidelines for the safety and healthcare of the citizens while also addressing issues related to the extension of interim stay orders and all bails.
The division bench constituting chief Justice J. K. Maheshwari and Justice M. Satyanarayana Murthy clarified the intention of the Court to take up this matter as pro bono to avoid complications with the view that it is right of every citizen to live in a healthy atmosphere as per Article 21. These guidelines were issued as interim measures considering the unavailability of most facilities due to the nation-wide lockdown.
Extension of Interim orders/relief
a) All cases of interim orders passed in the High Court, as well as other Courts under the High Court, shall continue to operate for a period of one month in case it has expired two weeks prior or is due to expire within a period of one month.
b) Criminal matters where the bails or suspensions granted by the Court are due to expire within the period of one month shall be further extended for one month.
c) In matters where demolition, dispossession, eviction, auction is in question if the limited stay is granted, it is treated extended for one month, the instrumentalities shall not proceed for the above until one month.
d) In tenders, if they have not been finalized, they shall not be given effect to for one month and the process may be made after the expiry of the lock-down period.
Safety measures for health professionals
a) The State Government is directed to provide all necessary equipment like N-95 masks, sterile medical gloves and all other necessary things to the Doctors and other Paramedical staff, thereby they may be in a position to provide medical aid to the citizens.
b) The Police, Doctors, paramedical staff and other persons engaged in these days may be provided adequate facilities on account of rendering emergent services by them.
Guidelines Regarding Over Crowding and Mass Gathering
a) Officers shall follow National protocol, no mass gathering shall be allowed at borders and in any case, care of females with children and pregnant women must be undertaken by the authorities with humanity.
b) In order to prevent overcrowding in prisons, convicts or under-trial offenders to which maximum sentence prescribed is not more than 7 years, maybe released on interim bail on furnishing bail bonds if they are not second offenders and also not offenders under Section 376 of IPC and POCSO Act, for a period of one month. Violation of suspension would result in cancellation of interim bail or suspension.
c) Care is taken to enforce social distancing among children in remand homes.
Essential facilities for citizens
a) The State shall protect the confidentiality regarding health check-up of patients.
b) Essential items may be made available to the citizens.
c) The Police, Doctors, paramedical staff and other persons engaged in these days may be provided adequate facilities.
d) Due care and caution in ports where ships are still coming in.
The above directions are enforceable for a period of one month until further notification.
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