HC satisfied with govt’s handling of coronavirus

Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Friday expressed satisfication at the measures taken by the government in Jammu and Kashmir to combat coronavirus disease.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajesh Bindal after going through status reports filed by the government recorded that “it appears that the Government of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is sensitive to the seriousness and the urgency of the matter and is addressing the issue from every aspect possible.”
The court added, “Besides declaring the COVID-19 as an epidemic in Jammu and Kashmir, the administration has already imposed severe restrictions in order to control the spread of the virus. The educational institutions, religious gatherings, entry of foreign tourists, public transport has been closed down while continuous awareness is being aired on different modes of media for the general masses.”
The court was informed by Advocate General DC Raina that in view of the observations made by the court in order dated 17 March with regard to the lack of video-conferencing facilities in the two Observation Homes in the Union Territory and lack of connectivity with the Juvenile Justice Board in the Union Territories, the Principal Secretary, Social Welfare department has on 19th March approached the IT department and the BSNL authorities to take measures to make the system operational.
The court was also informed that certain district courts are also having difficulty of connectivity.
The court said, “Let urgent steps be taken by the IT department of the UT Government and the BSNL to resolve and ensure that smooth video-conferencing facilities are enabled and ensured between Observation Homes and the Juvenile Justice Boards.”
The court also directed Chief General Manager of the BSNL, J&K, based at Jammu to remain present in court on the next date of hearing with a complete status report regarding the steps taken to enable connectivity between the Observation Homes and Juvenile Justice Boards and the Courts.
Advocate General submitted before court that VK Singh, Director General (Prisons), has issued Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) regarding jails.
The court said, “Let the same be brought on record with the status report on or before the next date of hearing.”
Meantime, Counsel Vishal Sharma appearing for Union Territory of Ladakh submitted that in view of the extremely critical position being faced in the Ladakh, on account of pre-occupation with the measures that are required to be taken, it was not possible to file the status report.
The court after hearing the counsel directed that the status report in terms of orders be placed before the next date of hearing.
On the last date of hearing, the court had noted the importance of looking into the institutions including Orphanages and Old Age Shelter Homes to address the emergent situation. Today the court also sought report from the authorities to look into the needs of slums and also the homeless people.
“Let the respondents address these concerns as well and place a status report before us on the next date of hearing,” the court directed.

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