Patna High Court: The Role of Civil Societies Dealing With Issues Arising Out Of Coronavirus Cannot Be Undermined

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Patna High Court encouraged the state to consider appointing a Nodal Officer to deal with the pandemic issues.  NITI Aayog suggested this and Advocate Parul Prasad filed a PIL where the court passed the order.

Mr Prasad made a prayer to the state government to follow the guidelines of NITI Aayog. He contended that every citizen must have a chance to work with the state administration. To provide shelter and food to those most affected by the lockdown in the country is a duty everyone owes.

Court’s Observation

Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice S Kumar of the division bench pointed out the constitutional provisions. The fundamental duties enshrined in the constitution and the significance of the Directive Principles of the State Policy both apply in the given scenario. They observed,

“…the role of Civil Society, be it in the form of individuals/ CSOs/NGOs, in helping the orphans; elderly persons; and specially challenged persons, cannot be undermined. Public and private participation, of the good Samaritans to overcome natural disasters and adversities is not alien to the culture and heritage of this great nation…”

Yet, the state government told the court that it had no obligation to follow the NITI Aayog guidelines. The state functioned according to its mechanisms adopted by way of regulations. The court suggested that the officer appointed under the Bihar Epidemic Diseases COVID-19 regulations could also serve as the Nodal Officer. The State Government can decide its own procedure in this regard.

The court was of the opinion that the use of technology for monitoring these problems would benefit everyone. A website at the state government level would serve the purpose.

The court signed off with the hope that the state government will consider at least a part of the order.


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