China-like discipline not possible in India, focus on upgrading health infrastructure: Gujarat HC

By PTI
AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday said the state government should ramp up health infrastructure keeping in mind that there could be a third or even a fourth wave of coronavirus because people are not going to follow the rules regarding face mask, social distancing and sanitisation.

Observing that discipline enforced in China cannot be implemented in India, a division bench of Justices Bela Trivedi and Bhargav D Karia asked the Gujarat government to ramp up infrastructure for medical facilities to deal with any fresh wave of the pandemic.

The bench made the observations while hearing a suo motu PIL on the COVID-19 situation and other related issues in Gujarat.

It said ramping up of health facilities, especially in rural Gujarat, should be on a long-term basis and not on short-term to address just the ongoing second wave of the pandemic.

“What about this type of third or fourth wave? The third wave will be followed by the fourth wave, because the people of the state are not going to follow, to put on masks, to have social distancing or sanitise. Nobody in this country is going to do that, so every six month there will be a wave,” the court observed.

“With this understanding you have to prepare yourself,” the court told Advocate General Kamal Trivedi during the hearing of the PIL.

When Trivedi compared India to European nations and said seven advanced countries combined together have seen more casualties and suffering due to the pandemic, the court said the only country India can be compared with is China, which is” incomparable”.

“You will have to compare only with China. It is incomparable. The discipline implemented there cannot be implemented here. Therefore, ramp up infrastructure for medical facilities,” the court said.

Trivedi then remarked that “Somebody has rightly said that we have paid the price for democracy.”

Responding to this, the HC observed, “In the name of democracy we cross all lines, everything is pardoned.”

When Trivedi said India is a country “with a huge population,” where policing in every nook and corner is difficult, Justice Karia observed, “Then prepare for infrastructure when the (COVID-19) waves come.”

The bench asked the state government to elaborate on policy it has in place for long-term engagement of medical resources that could cater to the needs of the next three or five years when another wave of COVID-19 may strike.

Trivedi assured the court that the government will look into all these aspects.

The Advocate General said the government has been trying its best to ensure that discipline regarding social distancing, wearing face masks and sanitisation is maintained to curb the spread of coronavirus.