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Observing the humanitarian crises the country is facing amid the coronavirus outbreak, the Bombay High Court said that the pandemic has revealed that despite our constitutional guarantees, a society that provides equal opportunities to all remains a "distant dream".
Taking note of the deteriorating situation in Mumbai, the bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Amjad Sayed directed the Maharashtra government to plan out a more vigorous strategy to deal with the rising cases, while continuing to conduct aggressive testing and screening.
The court also said that going by the current situation of the economy and health care, 'one can hardly think of a fair society in the near future,' NDTV reported, adding that the outbreak and the lockdown have not only hit the Indian economy, but have shown how 'pitiable' the condition of migrant workers in the country was.
"The pandemic and the resultant lockdown have destabilised the Indian economy, while wrecking the 'haves' and the 'have nots' alike," it read.
On Friday, the division bench issued the verdict over Public Interest Litigations (PIL) filed by various individuals and institutions, seeking relief for COVID-19, non-COVID-19 patients and frontline workers in Maharashtra.
While issuing the verdict, the court directed the state government to consider an increase in its budgetary allocation for public healthcare and expenditure, adding that the state must give priority to emergency cases while admitting, in preference to others who out of fear may seek admission but can wait.
The state should access real-time information on availability of beds, doctors, etc for both COVID and non COVID patients, and also formalise decisions on the continuation of lockdown or lifting relaxations according to the conditions prevailing.
The verdict further directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to set up a grievance redressal cell, where complaints can be lodged online or offline, and depute a nodal officer to monitor the activities.
Municipal corporations in the state shall set up a helpline number like BMC's 1916.
HC has further directed the government to look into the implementation of the directions provided, and the suggestions by certain medical associations over converting anaesthesia machines into ventilators, along with tele-consultation platforms for patients.
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