The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court has asked the government to spell out if it would be coming up with any guidelines to help the families of frontline COVID-19 warriors. The HC has also asked the government to place on record if the medical workers are still being asked to pay to stay at its own training centers.
A bench of Justices Sanjay Gangapurwala and Rajendra Avachat took up a suo motu PIL after taking note of a news article, which claimed that the government authorities had issued notices to the medical workers staying in various training centers.
The contentions in the news article were refuted by the district civil surgeon, Aurangabad, claiming to have instructed local authorities not to seek any charges from medical workers.
"The training centre under the control of the government has issued a notice to the health workers to pay charges for their stay in the training centre. However, the letter was issued by the District Civil Surgeon to the effect that no amount would be charged from the health workers for their stay at the training centre," the judges noted in their order.
The bench, accordingly, ordered the government to spell this stand on an affidavit. The judges further noted that the petition, drafted later on by a court-appointed amicus curiae (friends of court), sought various reliefs for the safety and protection of frontline workers.
"The other grievance agitated in the petition is the provision of standardised Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kits, including goggles, N-95 masks or triple layer masks, face shields, sterile medical/ nitrile gloves, starch apparels to the frontline health warriors actively
attending the patients in government and private hospitals," the judges noted.
"The plea further seeks directions against the authorities to arrange for the medical health check up of frontline warriors, periodically including the RT-PCR Test. It also seeks direction to frame guidelines to provide necessary help to their family members," the judges noted further.
The judges, accordingly, ordered the government to file an affidavit spelling out its stand on all these issues, raised by the amicus.
By way of a last chance, the government has been ordered to file its response within two weeks. The matter would be next heard on July 7.