TS High Court stays 'unconstitutional' order stopping ambulances at borders

On Friday a Bench of Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy heard the issue and said the order cannot be operational.

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  14 May 2021 11:21 AM GMT
TS High Court stays unconstitutional order stopping ambulances at borders

Hyderabad: Taking serious note of the Telangana government order that prevents COVID-19 patients from neighboring states from entering the state, the Telangana High Court on 14 May put a stay on the order saying it is unconstitutional.

According to the order, COVID-19 patients from neighbouring states will be allowed to enter Telangana only if they have a prior tie-up with local hospitals or an authorization letter.

On Friday a Bench of Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy heard the issue and said the order cannot be operational. The Bench directed the police department to allow all ambulances from neighbouring states to enter Telangana. Further, the court cautioned the government not to adopt similar circulars by circumventing directions of the court to restrict ambulances from other states.

A day after the Telangana government introduced a new rule for patients seeking treatment in the state, as many as 40 ambulances heading from Andhra Pradesh to Hyderabad were stopped at the border and sent back.

Unconfirmed reports said two patients died after Telangana police disallowed ambulances to cross into the state at the Panchalingala check-post on 14 May. The deceased persons are believed to be from Nandyal and Kadapa. Kurnool MLA Md. Hafeez Khan spoke to Telangana police but to no avail. Over 20 ambulances are either waiting or have been turned back as they did not have online permission at the time this article was filed.

Reacting to the border restrictions, a YSRCP senior leader said, "It is natural for the Telangana government to think about their people. The government has laid down technical guidelines despite what the High Court has said. It is difficult to follow the guidelines laid down by the Telangana government. It is unfortunate to stop an ambulance."

What is Telangana's new rule for out-of-state patients seeking treatment?

COVID patients from neighbouring states will be allowed to enter the state only when they have a prior tie-up with local hospitals, a government order said.

Further, the details of the patient should be sent to the control room to the number 040- 24651119. They can also be sent to WhatsApp to 9494438251 and through email to [email protected].

On receiving the details, the control room will issue authorization based on which the patient can come to Telangana for hospitalization.

The government invoked the provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 and Disaster Management Act 2005 to support its decision. Later, state chief secretary Somesh Kumar communicated the decision to his counterparts in the neighbouring states.

Referring to several people rushing to the city for hospitalization without prior tie-up, the chief secretary said such patients would not only lose precious time in moving from one hospital to another but will potentially spread the virus.

Mr. Kumar came up with a procedure where hospitals can apply for permission for patients in the prescribed format. They shall have to furnish information including the name of the patient, age, attendant's name, mobile number, and type of bed reserved and care required.

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