The Gujarat HC is hearing a case registered suo motu taking note of COVID-19 management in the State.

Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Bhargav D Karia hearing the matter.

Senior advocate Percy Kavina is now making submissions for Gujarat High Court Advocates Association.

Kavina raises a number of issues such as
-number of total tests going down, when tests are down, positive cases are down and there is a general satisfaction
- Hospitals are not given a sufficient number of kits for conducting tests

_Washrooms in Hospitals are in pitiable condition, no cleanliness
- Till now we don't know how much vaccine State has got. Now, they are saying that people above 45 yrs will not get vaccine because vaccination started for 18-45 yrs. But they are also not getting anything.
Kavina: State must say we have got 10 (vaccines) from State yesterday, 10 today, and 15 tomorrow. State affidavit is silent on this.

The same was the case with Remdesivir as well. There was no clarity.

State affidavit should contain the details.

Kavina on Central govt affidavit: How much oxygen will come, we do not know.

Court: We don't have to go into allocation of oxygen by Central govt, that is being monitored by Supreme Court.
We are more concerned with how State can produce more.

Kavina reading Centre's affidavit: "From 1.3.2021, all persons above 60 years and those with other diseases (above 45 years) have been vaccinated".

I don't think that is correct.

Kavina: There are less number of RT PCR machines.

Court: But new machines have come.

State: But it has not been activated.

Court: As far as State is concerned, we know that they was supposed to do these things earlier. But the situation is progressing.

Kavina on submits in allocation of Remdesivir

Court: It is being allocated by the Centre, vials of about 3,00,000.

Court states that the need has gone up to one crore vials of Remdesivir.

Adv Shahin submits on the need for oxygen.

State before Supreme Court also says that it requires 1190.
Referring to State's affidavit, Shahin states that it receives 970 Metric Tonnes.
Affidavit mentions that State is looking at every possible avenue for increasing Oxygen.
Shahin: All this is good but when? After one month? Two months? Because everything will be done in two months!
Shahin: State should specifically inform how it plans to increase oxygen.
The data must be like a Scientist's data.

Some Hospitals don't provide oxygen.

Kavina: I forgot to mention this, some hospitals after giving beds say that it cannot give oxygen. It is unheard of!
Shahin: Affidavit doesn't mention how to break the chain.

Court: It is there, in the first page, on breaking the chain.
Shahin on political rallies, marriages.

Shahin: In my opinion, marriages can wait. Health is more imp.

Correction: Adv's name is Shalin** Mehta.
Another Adv submits that in hospitals, housekeeping, providing food timely, not there for COVID patients.

He submits on State's affidavit before SC, states that 900 beds are filled in.
Let them say that there are only 641 beds and not 900. People are misled.
Adv Anand Yagnik: There are 70 lakh students registered with State between 1st and 8th classes. 43 lakh benefitted by ICBS (integrated Child Development scheme).
After Lockdown was announced, part. for children without smartphones, State decided to provide resource material physically.

Yagnik: Request is to State to provide material for next academic year.

Court: We will seek State's response in your application.
Yagnik: Food rations, coupons should be given and strengthened for those children who are not coming to Anganawadis.

The next is, children under custody of the State, we have special homes, juvenile homes etc. Testing and treating facility should reach them.

Yagnik: Effort is being undertaken but it has to be strengthened.

Women in Nari nikethan, Treating and testing must be extended to them as well.

Yagnik: Children who are mentally/visually challenged..... They cannot be taken to hospitals.

Court: What relief do you want?

Yagnik: Some attention to them should be given along with care and warmth. While they are taken to hospitals, there must be two people.
Adv KR Khoshti: RT PCR tests may be increased. Second prayer is, all hospitals may display info about designated beds etc.

Court: What is new in your applications? No point in repeating. These issues are already being considered.

Another Adv submits dead bodies of covid patients are being handed over to the relatives.

Either it was a non covid patient who was treated in a covid ward or that body is given to relatives against govt order: Adv

Court: But the policy has changed. Govt is now allowing dead bodies of COVID patients to the relatives.

Kavina: Govt should come up with some hotline for black marketing

Senior Adv Mihir Joshi for the Corporation: It was in the interest of common man for 75% reservation (for beds in hospitals). It has been withdrawn.

Thinking is that there must be some mechanism for efficient admission. This was not to go against the State.
The order has been withdrawn: Joshi
You are increasing the risk for people if you are not insisting on a negative RTPCR report: Court

Milords, the point is, if he has gone for some small business in another state and return within 72 hours, then report not required. But we will withdraw this: Joshi
We got many representations on this. We consulted state also: Joshi

That is why, in our previous order we had directed the State to ensure that this circular is withdrawn: Court

The personal cell number of the senior most officer of the corp was flashed by a channel. In the last 24 hours, his number is flooded with calls. Requesting State to take action against the channel: Joshi

Court: We will ask State about this
Court: We have been talking of real-time updates of vacancy in beds, in our orders. We want a dashboard with all the details, as soon as a patient is added, it will show. For last three orders, we had mentioned this.

Till today nothing has been done by State or Corp.
You are ignoring orders of the Court: Bench

AG Kamal Trivedi goes through earlier Court directions.

Trivedi on RTPCR tests: My friend Mr Kavina tried to show some different utterances made by government in different places, it is not so.
AG Trivedi submits -

Number of testing labs risen to 96,200, there are 72 RTPCR machines in govt labs as on May 1.

Reason for number of tests is not just increase in number of labs, but increase in number of machines.

Lab timings have increased.
AG Trivedi says time taken for test from pvt lab can't be given as it is difficult to assimilate such info at this point of time

"However, on average, subject to emergent and contingent crisis, time take is 24 hours to 30 hours", he adds.

#GujaratHighCourt #CovidIndia
AG Trivedi: Presently RTPCR tests at private labs is kept at Rs 700 per test for people going to the lab, and at Rs 900 for home test

#GujaratHighCourt #CovidIndia
Court: Mr Trivedi if you come to page 33, acc to you out of these 35 machines supplied, 21 have been installed... at different places. Whether these machines have started functioning... or they have just been fixed at the place?

AG says they have been operating and put to use
Court: Then your actual number of RTPCR machines should have increased.

AG clarifies that there are 72 machines.
AG: That is the reason for increase in testing...milord's qn was when no. of labs has not increased, how come you are showing increase in no. of tests...number of RTPCR machines have been increased

#CovidIndia #GujaratHighCourt
Court notes that some Universities are still not cooperating to extend lab facilities for COVID testing, asks State what measures can be taken against them

AG says that they are persuading.

Court: This is not a time to be requesting, you should be commanding!
AG says Court is perhaps right
AG reads from submissions, reads more RTPCR machines have been ordered.

Court remarks that then there should be more than 70 RTPCR machines

Court: There seems to be some problem with your information given to you, placed before us. What is the correct thing?
AG: Correct thing, today what we are saying milord.

Court: What you said on 19th April was incorrect

AG: There appears to be some mistake in the figure milord, milords are right... but today we have confirmed the information.
Court: So what you have furnished before us on 19th April is absolutely incorrect

AG Trivedi: There appears to be..

Court: Our effort has never been to give some information make us happy.. we want clean, hard facts. Whatever is there with you, you inform us
AG Trivedi: Lord, there is not any idea to hide information, or to give incorrect information

Court: There may not be any idea, nobody says there is any idea
AG Trivedi submits that the State has been trying to compile information from various sources.

Court: Mr Trivedi, these are the information on oath, before High Court.
AG: Lordship may kindly see what kind of information we are collecting and putting...

Court: These are simple information. RTPCR machines are countable. There can be no doubt with regard to counting of any machine in the State of Gujarat. How can there be a difference?
AG Trivedi: There should not be milord. Therefore, the way we have come out with a very straight answer. As of today.. we have 72 RTPCR machines which are operationalized and generating reports. That is the reason the number of tests...
Court: Why the number of tests have gone down from 1 lakh 89k to 1 lakh 37k from April 23 to May 2. The number of tests have gone down. On one hand you say tests have increased, on other hand, the report is that...
AG Trivedi submits that it is a dynamic situation.

He adds that if there are complaints are there, they will be examined.

AG: Today, according to us, nobody has been denied the test. If person is not coming for a test, we are trying to encourage.
AG Trivedi adds that no one can be held if people do not come forward to get tested.

Court refers to complaints stated to have been reported by Kavina, says court can call for affidavits if necessary.
AG Trivedi assures Court that if there are complaints, the State will deal with them
AG Trivedi makes submissions on 108 ambulance system

Court: Whether token system is given a go bye or is it still in operation?

AG: It is given a go by.. I am coming to that.
Court: We had called the State and corporation to answer the above state of affairs prevailing with regard to 108 policy. Mr Joshi says he he has explained that it was a better system, centralised system was better. What is the answer of the State?
AG: This is a difficult question milord... some system was followed, till 15 April, there was a rationale...

Court: Your affidavit of the last date specifically states that the State is not following this policy, it is only the corporation which is following..
AG: No, we tried to say that the State is following this particular policy so far as civil hospitals are concerned. Corporation follows this policy so far as Corpn hospitals and pvt hospitals are concerned
AG: There was a rationale in following this policy but after 15th April, the way in which numbers started increasing, perhaps...
AG: I do not say there were two diff policies. But so far as civil hospitals were concerned, they were following a practice that anybody can come, person can come in private vehicle, 108 can come...
AG: Corporation was trying to see that... the number is rationalized keeping the vacancies of beds. Ultimately it was realized this policy is not working, that has to go. That's why the other day I said I will take this issue at the highest level and get the needful done.
AG: Today this policy is no more...

Court: Alright, you don;t want to answer that question, we will continue further...
Court: Then you will accept that the State has been failing in keeping a proper supervision and control over the corporation? And it has left the corporation to do ... like a indisciplined child or...

AG: I will not say that...

Court: Then what?
Court: ... It is still under the State only, the control. 108 is the policy of the State. And corporation is only executing it on behalf of the State. So corporation will have to execute it as per the directions of the State.
Court: The State has this policy in place, but the corporation follows a different policy. And the State doesn't do anything? ... Therefore, we have called both of you to answer
Mihir Joshi: ... your lordship said, there seems to be a conflict on the policy implementation... we are working in tandem. The analogy of mischievous child may not be apposite.

Court: No... allowed you to play and not do your work properly.
Joshi: On the contrary, 108, we had a rationale, that it was centralised and allocated most efficiently.

Court: But Mr Joshi, the centralised system was such a big failure. People were waiting for 108 for 48 hours...
Joshi: It required increase in the ambulances

Court: There were queues outside your hospitals of 108! ... We are not going to what has happened in the past, we are looking forward to make these more streamlined, transparent...
AG Trivedi makes submissions on the supply of #Remdesivir

Court: What is your distribution policy for the entire State?

AG reads submissions
Court: How is the State distributing it to districts and talukas?

AG says factors taken into consideration are severity and criticality along with demand raised.

#Remdesivir #GujaratHighCourt #CovidIndia
AG: Daily allocation of #Remdesivir does not remain constant and keeps on varying. However, the above factors are always taken into consideration..
AG Trivedi on distribution of #Remdesivir in last 10 days within #Gujarat:

Ahmedabad - 25.44%
Remaining in 41 entities (33 districts, 8 corporations)
Court: The feedback we are getting is that other districts (other than Ahmedabad) are not getting #Remdesivir injections or the number given are much less in proportion to the number of patients there.
AG submits that the ratio of distribution keeps on changing depending on the above factors, but the daily allocated quantity gets exhausted every day.

#Remdesivir #GujaratHighCourt
High Court asks State to file a chart on #Remdesivir allocation district wise, including demand raised, for the past 15 days or 1 month.

AG Trivedi: Very well
AG reads submissions on NGOs coming forward to aid State on COVID-19 management efforts, submits that State is planning to set up 32 PSA plants in 22 govt hosp to tide over present shortage of oxygen.
AG says that there is a difficulty of a key ingredient for purified oxygen production in PSA plants not being available in India. This is required to be imported, today the delivery time being cited is 2-3 months.
In the absence of this raw material, oxygen cannot be produced even if plants are set up in next 2 weeks, this is the hard reality, AG submits.
Court asks how much it costs to set up a PSA plant

It varies between 30-60 lakhs, AG submits.
AG makes submissions on physical infrastructure.

57,808 beds, ICU beds are 13,513, he reads.
Court: Do you have sufficient number of vaccines or you don't have sufficient number of vaccines or there are no more...

AG: We are getting, we have been assured...

Court: What is your plan of vaccination, next 3 months, 6 months...?

AG: We have placed the orders
Court: These orders have been placed quite recently.

AG: Yes

Court: The population of Gujarat is about 13 crores?

AG: 6 crores
You have vaccinated so far, 1 crore?: Court
Court: Can you make a statement as to when you would be receiving the supplies as placed vide order April 25?

AG: I can find out. That would be very uncertain date. Ultimately when vaccines come in my hands, i can start.

Court asks if manufacturer has given a tentative date
Court refers to State submissions on steps take to break the chain.

AG: I have been instructed to say that we are seriously considering that this phase continues. These restrictions which lordships may find at para...they are are for the period from April 28-May 6...
AG: We are seriously considering to extend...decision may be taken today. In all likelihood, it may be extended.

#CovidIndia #GujaratHighCourt
Court refers to its earlier oral request for births and deaths registration.

AG: Time has been extended. Online, it has started.

Court: Very well.
Court refers to a complaint regarding flashing of a number of a senior IAS officer who was managing the corporation and Court's request to take serious action.
Court notes that there is no averment on the issue in the State's affidavit.

AG: It can be done

Court: Why has it not been done so far?
Court: When we pointed out that day that it was very unfair on the part of the agency, the vdeo/news channel, either the State says that it was right and the number should have been flashed - then let all the numbers of the highest officers ... be flashed and everyone know...
Court: If the State feels it was wrong, some actions should have been taken..

AG says that it was in contemplation and if nothing has been done, State will see that it is done.
Court: We were quite vocal about it on the previous date, then why do we not find any mention of it in the affidavit today and Mr Joshi has to point it out to us?
AG says that Court may record a statement that needful is done.
Court observes that it had earlier stated that this is serious, that it should have been done and action should be taken against the errant channel
Court: A query should have been done and how and why did he do it. What is his responsibility? If you are not being responsible in running a news channel, then your channel should be shut down immediately... we said all these things on that day also.
AG again says that Court may record his statement that the needful will be done.

Court: No, we also want an explanation as to why no action was taken till now...
Court: Our proceedings are being watched by not only the State officers... it is available on YouTube... it is not that this is not within the knowledge of the State officers.
AG says that although he has communicated the issue, the urgency may not have been communicated.

AG: I'll see that immediately action, whatever needful is done. Lordship may pardon, it is not that State is sitting over it.
Court addresses counsel Devang Vyas. Refers to submissions in State affidavit that manufacturing of #Remdesivir has risen from 38 lakhs to more than a crore.
Vyas: Over and above the national capacity of manufacturing, there are steps which are taken to procure it from other sources from other countries as well. Out of which 4 lakh, 50k vials from US are expected.. out of which 1 vials are in the process of being distributed as of now
Court: Mr Vyas, you are not understanding what we are trying to say. The affidavit of the State mentions that the manufacturing of #Remdesivir has risen... to 1 crore, 3 lakhs. You have made an allocation of only 34lakhs and odd ...
Court:... Therefore, if it has increased, you should be making more allocation. That is what we wanted to...
Vyas: It will be done. One aspect, this production capacity it has now increased to 1.03 cr per month... Every State is under direction to immediately communicate to manufacturers the requirement.. that is one instructuon.
Vyas: Second, up to 9th, considering the production that has taken place in the last 10 days, the distribution thereof is indicated..

Court: So, as and when you get more, you will further distribute?

Vyas: It will be increased...
Vyas submits that distribution is taking place each day's production and requirements put forward by every State.
Vyas: If the numbers are seen, will find a stark distinction. Out of 34 lakh 50k, approx 3 lakh 7k vials are to come to Gujarat, keeping in mind the current situation that is prevalent in Gujarat, so is the case in the state of Maharashtra.
Allocation of 975 MT of liquified Oxygen/ medical oxygen is being allocated, considering overall availability throughout the country and requirement of every state, Vyas submits
Vyas adds that this is over and above the PSA plants and what the State says it will augment.
1500 MT of oxygen is what State required from Centre on earlier occasion, Court informed.
Government Pleader Manisha Lavkumar: At micro level, what we have received from Mr Kavina, that district/taluka level... each of it we have forwarded to collector.. it is being followed up...
Court says that the info on facilities available must be shared with Kavina so he can pass on the info to his counterparts in the concerned areas.

Lavkumar says that Collectors are being directed to write to the respective bar councils to bring it to their notice.
Lavkumar says that the State appreciates the inputs, that all measures are being taken to ensure the best facilities are available.
Court: Before we close, the State has to take care that none of the corporations do their 'manmani'. We will not tolerate it. Corporations have to act in acc with the policy of the State ... they cannot act on their own.
Joshi says that the aspects concerning 108 was only being done with respect to the free beds.
Court: Mr Joshi, we do not know about 108. Ultimately, it became a big failure at that time and therefore we had to interfere and make those observations and .. it has been withdrawn... And the State should have taken that step earlier.
Court: Why should the State wait for the Court to intervene and pass orders and observations and then the State acts or the corporations act?
Joshi: Since the situation is unfolding rapidly. Therefore, some decisions are taken, but they are not mischievous or with a view to override the State... 108 is being used only for free beds. Persons who can come in car may not stricly be entitled to object
Joshi: There are free beds, which we thought ideal allocation for the have nots of the society, who rely only on 108 and free treatment would be centrally allocated..
Joshi: I am only saying these are mischievous actions or irresponsible actions. They are done, looking into administrative exigences and larger public interest.
Joshi adds that he will file affidavit in response to the Bench on aspects of dashboard.
Counsel Amit Panchal refers to a Supreme Court case. Directions were issued in respect of steps to be taken by State, directions issued in December, Panchal asks Court to consider.

Court: Mr Panchal, please understand... we are less on issuing directions, more on getting the State to do the right thing.

Panchal: I am not on directions. The Supreme Court, for the State of Gujarat, has issued these directions. May kindly consider this.

Court: Very well.. thank you

Shalin says that aspects left out may be incorporated in State's affidavit, which refers to earlier concerns about lesser allocation of beds for govt quota.
Court: That was explained... last time. He says there were lesser number of hospitals that time. Today we have 172 hosp with 20% bed, it was much more than what was allocated last time...
The State will have its own resources. It is State policy to decide whether they want to extend it to more or not. We cannot issue directions that you provide free treatment ... it is a social welfare state, it is for them to take care of us: Court
KR Koshti: Permit me, one thing. Very important thing is there. If my lord is not interested, then forget it. If it. is, necessary then consider.

Court: Mr Koshti, since the morning, you have not made one sensible submission. Now let us listen to your last submission.
Since March 2020, press release of Govt says it has people on 400 patients on ventilator. Koshi refers to State submission that it has 4,000 ventilators, incl in private hospitals

Koshti: Where are those ventilators? Because people are dying without ventilators.

Court: Alright
[COVID-19] Pained that orders are being completely ignored: Gujarat High Court asks why real-time updates on hospital beds are not available

#COVID19 #GujaratHighCourt #Gujarat…

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