Hyderabad: The Telangana High Court on Thursday strongly criticised the decision of the state government to allow New Year celebrations till late at night even as there existed a fresh Covid-19 threat.
A division bench of Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy asked Advocate-General B.S. Prasad to urge the government for a reconsideration of the decision. The bench directed the government to consider the possibility of imposing Section 144 CrPC on the state as a new strain of Coronavirus has reached here from the UK.
The court was adjudicating a batch of 25 public interest litigations seeking a direction to the government for a step-up in testing, strengthening of medical infrastructure etc to contain Coronavirus. Chief Justice Chauhan posed the question, “What prompted the government to grant such permissions while several other states imposed night curfew and restricted New Year celebrations? Merely by closing the Tank Bund and flyovers will not help. The government should act in a stricter manner.”
The Chief Justice quizzed the Advocate-General about the reason for not imposing the night curfew and asked if this could be done for the coming days. “From one side, the health department says ‘do not hold New Year parties’ and avoid huge gatherings. On another side, the government is allowing celebrations and gatherings,” the bench said.
Referring to the return of many from the United Kingdom and not being traceable, the Chief Justice cautioned the government to be more vigilant.
The court directed the government to consider the possibility of issuing a GO, through which a clear message can be sent to such of those who hide their addresses on arrival or give wrong information. “They can be punished under Section 269 IPC. Prosecution can be initiated against them,” the court said.
The court also directed the government to tell officials manning the fair price shops to not insist on bio-metric identification for obtaining provisions. Also, ask the police to ensure that not more than 50 persons attended a marriage or other functions, the court said.
The Advocate-General was directed to submit a report by January 20 on the steps taken for implementing the orders and tackling the possible emergence of a second wave of Covid-19....