HC orders Nagaland Govt to act on COVID-19 related petition

DIMAPUR, JULY 24 (MExN): The Kohima Bench of the Gauhati Court has ordered the Government of Nagaland to consider and act on the representation filed by one Lhuphrevilie Rino with regard to various grievances concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in the State. 

In an order passed on July 22, the Court after holding proceedings on a PIL filed by the petitioner, ordered the respondents to “consider and act on the representation of the petitioner as may be required under the prevailing facts and circumstances mentioned in the petition itself.” 

The petition had raised various grievances alleging rampant misutilisation and misappropriation of public funds meant for fighting the COVID-19 pandemic; low quality goods procured for use in fighting the pandemic without issuing NIT; that PPEs have not been provided to frontline workers of the departments responsible in tackling the spread of COVID-19 in the State; that there is lack of transparency in the utilization of State resources in fighting the spread of COVID-19; and that there is disparity in distribution of funds allocated for fighting COVID-19 among the districts of the State. 

The Court, taking into consideration the relevant rules and the circumstances in which the people of the State are at present in view of the pandemic, viewed that the respondents should consider the petition as representation and act as deemed fit and reasonable in the public interest as they are required to do. 

“In case the respondents fail to act as prayed for in the petition or as may be required, the petitioner can always come back before this Court,” it added. The Court further ordered that the respondents act within a reasonable and appropriate time. 

The respondents include the Chief Secretary for the Nagaland Government; Principal Secretary, Health & Family Welfare; Principal Director, Health & Family Welfare; Mission Director, NHM; Chairman, State Level Committee on Verification/Quality of logistics procured on emergency basis for COVID-19; Director (Health) Designate, Health & Family Welfare; Chairperson, State Level Committee on Emergency Procurement for COVID-19; Chairman, Verification Board which conducted the verification on April 15, 2020; Additional Director (Purchase), Health & Family Welfare; Deputy Director (Store), Health & Family Welfare; Deputy Director, Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme; and Senior Accounts Officer, Health & Family Welfare.