The matter was taken up in an urgent hearing after reports of ambulances carrying COVID-19 patients being stopped at the state border emerged.

A bird's eye view of Telangana High Court
news Court Friday, May 14, 2021 - 19:34

The Telangana High Court on Friday stayed the operation of a circular issued by the state government, which restricted entry of ambulances carrying COVID-19 patients from neighbouring states. The petition was filed by retired IRS officer GV Krishna Rao. A bench comprising Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy of the Telangana High court took up the case for urgent hearing after media reports of several ambulances being stopped at the Telangana state border emerged.

Read: 'Waited for 12 hours': Telangana stops ambulances with COVID patients at AP border

The circular dated May 11, issued by the Telangana government, was released to the media only on May 13. According to the order, only those patients carrying proof of prior appointments with hospitals in Telangana, as well as an authorisation letter from the state government would be allowed to enter its borders. The state is currently under a stringent lockdown.  

The same bench had issued directions to the state to ensure that ambulances from other states are not restricted at the borders. The court also mentioned that restricting the ambulances would be a violation of individuals’ fundamental rights which are enshrined in the constitution.

The bench not only suspended the circular but also directed the Telangana government to not circumvent directions of the court, even as the PIL’s hearing remains pending. The bench also directed the state to provide assistance through control rooms to patients and their bystanders who wish to travel to Telangana for treatment.

The Advocate General of Andhra Pradesh impleaded for the state in this hearing. The case was further posted to June 17.

Meanwhile, the Andhra Pradesh government’s advisor said that it is unfortunate that ambulances from Andhra Pradesh are being stopped at the border. Addressing a press conference, he said, “Everyone has to come forward and work with humanity in this pandemic crisis. The Telangana government should permit the ambulances on humanitarian grounds, as the entire country is in a state of emergency. It is quite common for people moving to bigger cities, where they can access better medical infrastructure and being a neighbouring state Telangana government should treat the patients with humanity.”