Bombay High Court
Bombay High Court
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Mumbai: The Maharashtra government, on Tuesday, informed the Bombay High Court that it has constituted a committee comprising of heads from 21 different departments, which is continuously monitoring the situation and taking apt measures to contain the further spread of coronavirus in the state.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Justice NR Borkar has also been informed that the government has invoked laws by which it would imprison any citizen, who doesn't follow the time-to-time directives being passed by the public authorities as precautionary measures.

This comes in the form of a one page note tendered before the bench through government pleader Priyabhushan Kakade. The note was filed in response to a bunch of petitions seeking effective measures for containing coronavirus.

"A high power committee consisting of 21 heads of the department is constituted under the state chief secretary. The committee is responsible for the day-to-day monitoring of the situation for controlling the spread of the epidemic," the note stated.

"This committee is daily holding video conferences with union government authorities and apprising them of the latest position on the ground," the note added.

In its note, the government has stated that it has empowered district collectors to acquire hospitals and buildings to be used as quarantine facilities and they are issuing guidelines to intensify surveillance in their respective districts.

Just like international and domestic airports, the railways has also been requested to screen commuters.

However, it is yet to respond to this request.

The bench was further informed that the government has proposed to increase the strength of laboratories so that the testing facility will be available in more districts, as presently there are only three such labs in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur each.

"Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, which penalises citizens for not abiding by the orders of public authorities, has been invoked," the note reads.

It further adds that the hospitals in the state are ordered to have separate isolation halls so that if patients approach or are detected, they can be kept in isolation units in the hospital.

The government has also informed the bench that it has ensured that the essential services and goods are supplied without any hindrance. "However, schools and colleges, museums, gyms, cinema halls and swimming pools throughout the state are ordered to be shut down," the note stated.

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