Gujarat High Court Chief Justice Vikram Nath on Sunday took suo motu cognizance and initiated public interest litigation (PIL) while observing that media reports on the pandemic indicated that the “state is heading towards a health emergency of sorts” and that there was an “uncontrolled upsurge and serious management issues in Covid-19 control”.
In the order, the court also observed that newspapers and TV channels were flooded with “harrowing tales, unfortunate and unimaginable difficulties, unmanageable conditions of the infrastructure, the shortfall and the deficit of not only testing, availability of beds, ICU, but also supply of oxygen and the basic medicines like Remdesivir”.
"People now think that they are at God's mercy," a division bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Bhargav Karia said while hearing PIL.
After Advocate General Kamal Trivedi informed the HC about steps taken by the Gujarat government to tackle the Covid-19 situation, the court said the reality is quite different from what the government claims.
"The situation is quite different than what you are claiming. You are saying that everything is alright. But, the reality is contrary to that," the high court said during the hearing held via video-conferencing.
There is a "trust deficit" among people, it observed.
"There is no shortage of Remdesivir (key anti-viral drug). Everything is available with you. We want results, not reasons," the HC said, on complaints of shortage of Remdesivir injections for Covid-19 patients.
It now takes "almost five days" for a person to get the RT-PCR test result, the court noted.
"You did not upscale the testing facilities when you had time," the HC said.
Gujarat reported 5,469 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, its biggest single-day rise since the beginning of the pandemic, which took its caseload to 3,47,495.
The death toll due to the virus went up to 4,800 as 54 patients succumbed to the infection on Sunday, as per the state health department.
With PTI inputs