Three-judge Supreme Court bench to hear EPFO pleas

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up Manipur government for the “pathetic” conditions in COVID-19 quarantine Centres in the state and said “we are not going to give you character certificate”.

The top court said that High Courts were the bastion of ensuring justice during the COVID-19 period and it is not going to interfere with the orders passed against the state government.

A bench of Justice DY Chandrachud, Vikram Nath and Hima Kohli, dismissed an appeal of Manipur government against the two orders of the High Court passed last year on a PIL with regard to ensuring facilities at hospitals and COVID-19 quarantine centres.

“We are not going to give you a character certificate. High Courts were bastions of ensuring justice during the COVID-19 period. Sorry, we are not going to interfere with the orders,” the bench said.

Advocate Pukhrambam Ramesh Kumar, appearing for the state government, said that orders were passed by the High Court on a PIL and certain directions were passed, which were not feasible.

“Your facilities at the COVID-19 centres were pathetic. You did not have separate bathrooms for men and women. Even bed rolls were changed after 15 days. There were no doctors’ visits to the quarantine centres. The High Court has passed a very much calibrated and restrained orders, we are not going to interfere with them,” the bench said.

The High Court on July 16, 2020 had said that the State Government shall consider to constitute various committees consisting of experts only, probably, in all major Departments which shall collect information, relevant data, discuss with the stakeholders including farmers, entrepreneurs, workers and assess the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and submit their reports with suggested remedial measures to the State Government, so that an effective action plan can be made well in advance.

It had directed that the State Government shall share all the information, without any discrimination except those which are exempted under the provisions of the Right to Information Act, 2005, with the general public relating to any action taken by it towards combating COVID-19 crisis including the one relating to spending public money, infrastructure, manpower, facilities in the quarantine centres and in particular, the institutional quarantine centres for combating COVID-19 crisis.

The High Court has also directed the State Government to frame exhaustive rules and regulations to regulate the functioning of the State Government towards combating COVID-19 crisis or modify suitably the existing SOP, depending upon the change of circumstances.

It had asked the Manipur Human Rights Commission to submit its bill to the State Government towards the expenditure incurred by it while conducting the spot inquiry.