PIL filed against Nagaland Govt in HC

DIMAPUR, MAY 29 (MExN): A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in the Kohima Bench of the Guwahati High Court on May 29 against the Nagaland State Government and the State Health and Family Welfare Department.

The petition, citing information acquired through an RTI, alleged mismanagement by the State Government and the Health Department in the procurement and distribution of PPEs, masks, drugs and surgical equipment. It also questioned quality control measures employed by the Health Department with regard to the aforementioned items.

The petition was filed by the legal counsel of Robert N Solo, who is General Secretary of Kezekevi Thehou Ba. The organization had submitted a memorandum addressed to Nagaland Governor RN Ravi seeking inquiry “against officials responsible for procuring cheap quality medical equipment for COVID-19” and start legal actions against the “officials if public funds have been misappropriated.”    

The petition asked the court to direct the respondents to recall the poor quality PPEs procured which are already dispatched to the COVID-19 Designated Hospitals; to direct a CBI inquiry; regulate the price of medical equipments; set up a monitoring committee; upload all information on procurement of public goods; and maintain the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for public procurements. 

In the interim, it asked the Court to direct the respondents to immediately procure superior quality of PPEs, face mask and body bags; ensure the safety of the healthcare workers; and immediately provide PPEs to all the workers prescribed by the Guideline on Rational Use of PPEs issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Meanwhile, the Directorate of Health and Family Welfare on May 29 issued a response to the Kezekevi Thehou Ba’s RTI application informing that the department has not procured any testing kit for COVID-19 till date. 

“The Government of India has issued 3,840 testing kits, but it was recalled back, which the department returned,” it informed. Since setting of BSL-3 lab, all the testing is being carried out at the mentioned lab in Kohima, it added.