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TelanganaContempt notice to Public Health Director

Contempt notice to Public Health Director

Published: 26th Nov 2020 8:31 pm

Hyderabad: A two-judge panel of the Telangana High Court, comprising Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy, issued a contempt notice to the Director of Public health Dr G Srinivasa Rao in Covid-related public interest litigations.

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The court had previously directed the State to increase testing to 50,000 per day and on one day of the week to 1 lakh. According to the report submitted by the Director, the testing numbers fall shy of the said requirement every day of the week. The Court also observed that the State has not complied with the order of September 4 to increase the RT-PCR labs from 16 to 24 labs. The court further stated that the efficacy of the RT-PCR test in comparison to the Rapid Antigen test is an accepted proposition by the State government and in light of the same, it becomes their duty to expedite efforts to increase the RT-PCR labs. It refused to interfere in questions that necessitate the classification of the nature of deaths to be traced back to Covid, as the apex court has taken cognisance of the same. The court directed the Director of Public Health to take steps similar to governments in adjoining States such as Kerala and Andhra Pradesh wherein a Death Audit committee has been constituted to record statistics in an efficacious manner.

The court also directed the Advocate General to submit the next report by Dec 15 and the Director of Public Health is to submit a reply against the contempt notice by December 17. The Chief Justice after a perusal of the report submitted by the Director of Public Health questioned the inaction of the government in resolving the grievances of the public against private hospitals. The report indicated that 33 complaints had been received against Yashoda Hospital, 14 against Sunshine hospital, 10 against Care hospital and 13 against KIMS.

It pointed out that previous steps taken by the government to revoke licenses of private hospitals namely Deccan and Virinchi to treat Covid patients read complementarily with the present non-interventionist stance of the government implies a bias towards certain hospitals. The Director of Public Health denied favouritism towards any private hospital.

The counsel for Yashoda Hospital, Vivek Reddy, submitted that responses to complaints have been issued to the Director of Public Health. According to him, such complaints were frivolous and were for repetitive issues, some filed by the same patients. The court pointed out that such representations have to be put forward to the Director of the Public Health which has to forthwith reflect in the report submitted by the latter. The report of the Advocate General to be submitted on December 15 has to address the question concerning complaints against the respective corporate hospitals.

Honour killing verdict reserved

Justice K Lakshman reserved verdict in the plea of grant of regular bail to Keesari Rajitha, Ardham Spandana , Ardham Ranjith Reddy and Ardham Rakesh Reddy who are accused in the honour killing case of Hemanth Reddy. The accused are alleged to have killed Hemanth for marrying Avanthi Reddy.

The FIR is lodged against accused for various offences under the Indian Penal Code on a complaint by Avanthi Reddy against her family members for killing her husband. The offences as stated in the FIR are not attracted and that no specific overt acts are shown against accused. Public Prosecutor Pratap Reddy argued that investigation is under process and the call data records of many accused are awaited. He submitted that the deceased was mercilessly beaten before being killed. He said that before the murder, under the guise of settlement, the accused made the parents of the deceased to part with his 3 properties which was already done in favour of the nominees of the accused. The murder was clearly planned and the help of contract killers was also taken. Investigation is under progress.

Plea against I-T Department

A two-judge panel, comprising Justice MS Ramachander Rao and Justice T Vinod Kuma,r wanted the Revenue to account for the actions of the Grievance Redressal Mechanism Department of the Income Tax Department. The panel was hearing a writ plea filed by TSI Business Parks Hyderabad Pvt Ltd complaining against excessive funds being demanded by the I-T Department of almost Rs 1.06 crore in spite of paying the amount demanded and discharging the liability to pay for the said period. The counsel for the petitioner contended that neither the amount paid has been reflected in the records nor a notice was issued by the authority. The court noted that the Grievance Redressal Mechanism of the I-T Department was not aware of the actions of the I-T Department Centralised Processing Centre. The matter was adjourned to Dec 18.

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