Deccan Chronicle

200 prisoners in 47 jails in Maha test Covid+ve


Taking cognisance of news reports about sudden spike in Covid cases in Maharashtr­a jails, the Bombay High Court on Friday took suo motu public interest litigation and sought informatio­n on current status of Covid infected inmates, jail staff and also steps proposed to decongest jails.

The Nagpur bench of the HC also took suo motu cognisance of the PIL and directed laboratori­es not to keep on hold RT-PCR reports for uploading them on the portal of Indian Council of Medical Research (IMCR).

The court directed that reports should be made available first on WhatsApp, hard copies should also be provided and later it should be uploaded on the portal.

A division bench of Justice Nitin Jamadar and Justice Chandrakan­t Bhadang directed the state government to not only provide details of current status of jail inmates who are infected with the Coronaviru­s, but also ordered the state to inform court about the steps it proposes to curb further spread of the infection in jails.

According to reports, till April 14, almost 200 prisoners in 47 jails in the state have tested positive.

The number of infected inmates in the prisons was 42 a month ago and it touched the mark of 200 within a month. Six staff members in different jails have also tested positive.

The bench has kept this matter for

April 20.

On the other hand, a division bench of Justice Z.A. Haq and Justice Amit Borkar at Nagpur also took suo motu cognisance of the complaints about difficulti­es faced by patients in getting the reports of RT-PCR test.

According to Dr Mukesh Chandan, one of the intervenor­s, the reason for this delay is that the laboratori­es are not giving the reports before they are uploaded on the ICMR portal and sometimes the server is slow, which results in delay in uploading of reports.

Advocate S.P. Bhandarkar, who has been appointed as amicus curiae to assist the court in this matter, said that the reports should be given to patients immediatel­y on whatsapp and also as hard copy. "However, as far as uploading reports on the ICMR portal is concerned, of course it should be done as the data is of utmost importance for the concerned government and authoritie­s to take appropriat­e decisions and action in the matter," he said.

After hearing arguments the bench said, “We direct that after making the report available to patients on Whatsapp, the reports of those persons who test positive shall be uploaded on the ICMR portal within 24 hours and the reports of those who test negative should be uploaded on the ICMR portal within seven days. The authoritie­s would be free to take appropriat­e action against laboratori­es violating this directive.”



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