Hyderabad: The Telangana High Court, on 1 July, directed the state government to clarify its containment policy, if any, and furnish details of containment clusters along with the details of the number of tests conducted on asymptomatic and symptomatic persons and the number of persons who have tested positive. It said that the daily status report being issued by the health department is once again not providing the complete details.
The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B. Vijayasen Reddy was hearing a batch of nine PILs relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and the response of the state government. The court came down heavily on the state government for not implementing its orders relating to COVID-19. It made it clear that if its orders are not implemented in the next few weeks then the chief secretary and principal secretaries of medical and health, municipal administration, and urban development, and the GHMC commissioner must appear before the court on 21 July to explain the situation. The bench also warned contempt proceedings of its orders are not implemented.
On the issue of testing, the Bench said that on one hand the chief secretary has claimed that ICMR guidelines are being followed but on the other hand the director of public health, Dr. G. Srinivas Rao, publicly stated that tests have been stopped due to lack of sufficient facilities to conduct the tests.
“I am amazed at the attitude of Dr. Srinivas Rao, who on one hand announces that the Telangana government will conduct 50,000 tests in the next 10 days and on the other cites lack of testing facilities and stops the tests midway. Only 30,877 tests have been conducted, falling short by nearly 20,000 tests. Also, out of 33 districts, the Telangana government has tested persons in 12 districts only. What about the other districts?” questioned the Bench.
The Bench expressed surprise that despite a team of Central government officials visiting Hyderabad and interacting with the chief secretary, no details were put up on the public domain about the outcome of the visit and the meeting. Noting that neither the advocate general nor the assistant solicitor general has presented any findings of the team to the court, the Bench directed that those findings must be placed before the court. It also expressed unhappiness at yet another vague report filed by the advocate general, B.S Prasad, and said this is the ninth report furnished by the state government on COVID-19 that is vague.
The Bench adjourned the hearing on the batch of PILs to 21 July