Breaking- ‘This Is Unconstitutional’: Telangana High Court Slams State Government For Stopping Ambulances Carrying Covid-19 Patients At Borders

first_imgTop StoriesBreaking- ‘This Is Unconstitutional’: Telangana High Court Slams State Government For Stopping Ambulances Carrying Covid-19 Patients At Borders Akshita Saxena11 May 2021 4:18 AMShare This – xThe Telangana High Court on Tuesday slammed the State Government for preventing ambulances, transporting Covid-19 patients from neighbouring states, from entering Telangana in the absence of a prior secured hospital admission. “This is a blatant violation of the Constitution. You are denying medical treatment to people,” a division bench comprising of Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy remarked. “The State has sealed borders for ambulances transporting Covid-19 patients from neighbouring states to Hyderabad which on the face of it is in gross violation of the rights of citizens protected under Article 15, 19(1)(d) and 21 of the Constitution that entitles the citizens to move freely throughout the territory of India without any fetters and to access medical facilities,” the Bench said. The remarks were made during a special sitting held today based on newspaper reports that Covid patients coming to Hyderabad for treatment were stopped at inter-state borders. On an inquiry as to who had issued this order, the Bench was informed that perhaps oral instructions have been made to the Police officers and a proper Order is yet to be issued. “How can you do this? You are stopping people from entering without any official Order and without letting the public know? Who permitted you to do this? Have you approached the Centre telling them you cannot comply with their order for free inter-state movement?” Justice Kohli said. She stated that even if the State Government was proposing to impose any restrictions, it was incumbent for it to issue a Circular/ Advisory, informing the public well in advance as to the manner in which it proposes to curtail movement at borders of adjoining states, instead of reacting in such a “knee jerk manner”. The Court has now ordered that until such an advisory is issued by the State, Telangana Police shall not prevent any ambulance carrying Covid-19 patients in the State from another state, for medical treatment. During the hearing, the Advocate General for the State tried to defend the move by submitting that large number of people from neighbouring states were crossing over, even when there is scarcity of beds in Telangana. Due to this, Health Officials had to be deployed at borders to verify the condition of patients, he said. Taking exception to this, Chief Justice Hima Kohli came down heavily upon the AG for depriving medical treatment to citizens of its own country, merely on the basis of their residence. She pointed out that on an earlier occasion (April 23) when the Bench had inquired from the State as to whether it proposes to place any restrictions on borders from neighbouring states, the State had filed an affidavit alluding to an order issued by the Centre providing free movement. It was then submitted by the State that it is not supposed to seal borders or even conduct testing of people entering the State to detect those carrying the virus. “When we asked you to do testing, you resisted tooth and nail. Today you’re singing a different tune. You want to deprive residents of your neighbouring states from medical assistance. You are behaving like Yo Yo balls; swinging from one end to another,” Justice Kohli came down upon the AG. She added, “Now state has elected to turn turtle in the face of citizens inherent right under Article 19 of the Constitution that entitles them to move freely thought territory of India. It is neither understood nor appreciated how the State can impose such conditions and that too on critically ill patients who are transported in ambulances for medical treatment due to shortage of beds etc. in their own states.” Chief Justice Kohli noted that as per State’s own admission, there has been a decline in the number of Covid positive cases from 7,400 to 4,900. “How do you justify fetters on public entry when the health emergency situation has declined as per your own figures?” Justice Kohli said. Justice Reddy also stated, “You cannot stop people from entering Telangana. This is a very dangerous thing. These are extremely critical times. You can’t deprive people of medical treatment. How can there be preliminary screening? This is violative of Articles 15 and 21. How can you stop them at condition of medical certificate/ secured admission? People will come and secure admission. It is their prerogative; they can enter the State and secure hospital admission thereafter. Have you referred to Article 19(1)(d) of the Constitution?” He suggested that if all there is shortage of medical facilities in the State, an appropriate way will be to issue an advertisement in neighbouring states, informing people that Telangana does not have space in hospitals. The matter is now fixed for hearing on May 17. Click Here To Download OrderTagsTelangana High Court Covid-19 Patients Inter-State Movement Article 21 Article 19 #Right to movement Medical treatment Next Storylast_img read more