The court was hearing a suo motu case regarding COVID-19 management.

Covid 19 dead body being wrapped in body bag
Coronavirus Court Tuesday, May 18, 2021 - 10:16

The Madras High Court on Monday urged that the departed be accorded dignity in their last rites, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.  These remarks were made by the Principal bench of the Madras High Court consisting Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy while hearing a suo motu case on COVID management in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. According to reports, the judges said, “In several cases, there appears to be a lack of dignity in how the dead bodies are treated and all concerned should make every endeavour to accord a level of dignity to the departed, at least for the final time,” the judges remarked.

The court also said that it was important and necessary for accurate figures of COVID-19 cases to ensure adequate allocation of drugs and vaccines, which will be based on these numbers. The court also pointed out that while COVID-19 pandemic is huge, it is equally important to keep the needs of other patients with chronic issues and need for oxygen. “...some intervenors have pointed out that elderly patients suffering from COPD or other problems are being deprived of the regular supply of oxygen and it is difficult to find any alternative supply for such a purpose,” it said.

“While the state takes care of the COVID-19 patients and the emergency it faces on that account, the needs and concerns of the others must also be kept in mind and addressed without compromising such cases in the wake of the pandemic. Patients other than those afflicted by COVID-19, should be able to receive oxygen in the usual course and local authorities should take appropriate measures to ensure continuous supply for such purpose,” the court said.

Adding that some concerns have been expressed on the under-reporting of COVID-19 cases, the court said that it is necessary to ensure correct reporting so that the allocation of medicines and other essentials can be made based on the true picture. “It is also necessary that accurate numbers are indicated so that the allocation of drugs, oxygen and even vaccines can be made based on the true figures. At any rate, the testing rates should not dip to artificially show lower numbers,” the bench stated. It also urged the Puducherry government to continue its endeavour to increase the bed capacity in the state. 

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