Sham, misleading, unacceptable: Uttarakhand High Court slams govt for vague Covid deaths audit


Express News Service

DEHRADUN: Uttarakhand High Court on Wednesday came down heavily on the state government over of Covid-19 deaths audit during the second wave of the pandemic.

The division bench comprising Chief Justice RS Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma remarked, “This is totally vague, sham, misleading and not acceptable.”

Dushyant Mainali, one of the counsels in the petitions clubbed together said, “Notably, in most deaths the cause of death is posted as ‘cardiopulmonary arrest’ to which court raised questions.”

Taking strict stand on lack of preparedness about third wave of coronavirus, the court called the lacklustre working of the officials of the state government as a ‘bureacratic mess’. 

The court not satisfied with the death audit submitted in an affidavit by the officials of state health department observed, “Time and again whenever we ask about preparedeness You (Health Secretary) use terms like- adequate, sufficient, trenmendous efforts etc. Sorry, this is not a meeting chaired by Hon’ble Chief Minister where you will project anything/something and that will be accepted. This is High Court and if you will paint a rosy picture and will say it’s Ramrajya and we are in heaven, we will not believe becuause we rely on facts and evidences and we are aware of the ground reality of this hill state.”

Visibly angry on the efforts of state health departments officials to clarify, the court remarked, “All these vague terms being used by you are bureaucratic cobweb and a coverup to bureaucratic mess. We want bureaucracy of this state to work overnight on war footing and not to make decisions overnight instead of haulting them.”

The bench also stated that the affidavit by the health department is completely silent regarding steps taken in compliance of the recommendations of the high powered committee of pediatric experts. 

After the health department officials tried to explain how the government is in process of procurement, issuing tenders etc, the court dismissed these submissions as an ‘eyewash’.

The court was hearing combined petitions regarding COVID-19 situation in the state.

The HC issued series of directions including affidavit with detailed information about various points concerning Covid, including apprising the court about decision and preparedness of Char Dham Yatra on June 28, 2021. 

In other directions the court directed the state government officials to file affidavit about preparation for the anticipated third wave in the state till July 7, 2021, to get doctors from armed forces, situation of primary health centers including availability of oxygen cylinders and concentrators, especially in rural, remote areas, number of pediatric wards and beds across the state, number of available ambulances and how any villages are not connected to roads and at how much distances these villages are located from nearest government health facility. 

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