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High Court of J&K took suo moto cognizance in wake of Covid-19 Pandemic.

The Division Bench of the J&K High Court has initiated suo moto action in a Public Interest Litigation in view of Covid-19 pandemic.

The Division Bench was assisted by Senior Advocate Mrs. Monika Kohli (Amicus Curie) who expressed anxiety as the lawyers in the High Court are getting infected with Covid-19 and they have not been vaccinated which posed threat to their life. She also stated that families of the lawyers who have died recently due to covid may be given financial assistance.

In the PIL, the DB observed that directions are needed in respect of the following points.

  1. Registration and vaccination of lawyers;
  2. Supply of oxygen to patients at home;
  3. Seeking the services of infectious disease specialist;
  4. To remove the deficiency, if any in regard to availability of ventilators,
    oxygen, beds and medication including remedisivir; and
  5. For removing shortage of doctors and the staff, if any

The Court said the vaccination of lawyers above the age of 45 years can be easily resolved by directing the Registry of the Court to discuss the issue with the Finance Commissioner, Health and Medical Education with the help of Advocate General to get some date fixed for the registration of such advocates and thereafter some dates for their vaccination which may be notified to carry out vaccination in groups either at some suitable place in the High Court Campus or Medical College or Hospital as may be agreed upon. The above exercise be completed within a week beginning from tomorrow i.e 6th of May, 2021.

With regard to lawyers falling in the age group of 18-45 years are advised to get themselves registered online for vaccination as per the procedure and may be given priority in vaccination at the earliest.

The Court also observed that in case any family of the lawyer is in need of financial assistance either on account of medical expenditure or due to the death, the family members may approach the Bar Association with an application. On the application being forwarded, the Court would speedily consider it and endeavor to provide maximum financial aid out of the welfare fund. At the same time, government is also directed to consider for making some additional budgetary allocation, as the funds available may not be sufficient to meet the requirement.

The Court has also directed the Finance Commissioner and Department of Health and Medical Education to provide details of the number of hospitals both government and private available for Covid treatment, number of beds available thereof, District wise/City wise, quantity of Remdesivir allotted to the Union Territory, the exact quantity of Remdesivir received and used etc with the corresponding figures of the requirement within a period of two weeks.

The Court emphasised that this is not an adversarial litigation, we hope and trust that no one would make any effort to draw any mileage out of it so as to reduce it to a personal interest litigation or a publicity interest litigation and the media would also act cautiously in the best interest of the public and country.