The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court on Tuesday said that it is time for them to take stringent action against citizens, who ill-treat corona warriors. The HC has said that the police authorities must not hesitate in registering criminal offences against such citizens.
A bench of Justice Ravindra Ghuge was dealing with a suo motu public interest litigation concerning with various issues pertaining to the novel Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown.
The bench was informed of the incident, wherein a government hospital's nurse was assaulted and threatened by her neighbors. The nurse, who was deployed in a Covid-19 ward of the hospital, was pressurised by her neigbors to leave their society as they feared that she could bring in the deadly virus in their society.
Having considered the issue, Justice Ghuge noted, "This court was on the last hearing, assured that adequate protection would be given to the members of the medical faculty. The government counsel reiterates that the Corona Warriors would be given an adequate protection and the local administration including the police authorities would do the needful."
"However, I am of the view that time has come to direct the authorities concerned, to register offences against such residents who hold out threats or abuse or assault such medical/paramedicalstaf. The Police Authorities shall consider such offences seriously and should not hesitate to initiate appropriate action against such miscreants and register ofences by following the due procedure of law in appropriate cases," Justice Ghuge ordered.
During the course of the hearing, Justice Ghuge took into account the fact that the police machinery is under tremendous stress as they are on the streets, continuously, to implement the lockdown. The bench said, where there is no requirement of the presence of police, the authorities can consider deploying 'off-duty' workers of the revenue department in such areas.
"The police machinery is under great stress and strain. In its endeavour to control the spread of Covid-19 pandemic, the police personnel are deployed on the streets, at railway stations, in various localities and are even deployed for dealing with applications for seeking travelling pass and permissions to migrate. I am sure that the local administration and the state government is aware that several revenue officers of the revenue department are off duty," Justice Ghuge noted.
The bench accordingly said that the state government must consider deploying such "off-duty" staff, especially those below the age of 50 years for thepurposes of dealing with such activities and issues wherein the police personnel need not be necessary.
Meanwhile, the bench was informed that while implementing the lockdown, the police were humiliating citizens, who violate the rules. The government counsel, however, stated that police at various districts were dealing with the violators "in their own way" such as garlanding the violators or even showering flowers on them.
Having heard the contention, Justice Ghuge said, "I, therefore, find it appropriate to direct the state and the local administration to resort to legally permissible effective measures for implementing the lock down restrictions. If violators are noticed, the police can register offences against such violators by following the due procedure of law."