The High Court called for a special hearing after several reports of the media indicated a violation of COVID-19 guidelines in the Old City region of Hyderabad.

Telangana High Court
Coronavirus Coronavirus Tuesday, May 11, 2021 - 18:11

The Telangana High Court on Tuesday, May 11, pulled up the state government over the state’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis. The bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy called for a special hearing after several media reports indicated a violation of COVID-19 guidelines in parts of Old City in Hyderabad.    

Telangana Chief Justice Hima Kohli said, “In the previous hearing, in spite of indicating that you will extend the night curfew and impose a weekend curfew, no action was taken and the current night curfew is also very cosmetic in nature.”

Commenting about how there is no physical distancing and how there are instances of violation of night curfew and religious congregations being held, Chief Justice Hima Kohli asked, “Is religion more important than humanity? Isn’t humanity not a religion in itself? Man-made religion does not engage anybody.”

The bench questioned as to why ambulances were stopped at the Telangana border despite not having any inter-state regulations in place, terming it as 'unconstitutional' and a violation of the fundamental rights of citizens. The court directed the state to ensure that no ambulances are prevented from entering the state as it impedes the rights of citizens for free movement between territories. The bench stated that no COVID-19 patient should be denied entry to enter the state.

"How can you do this? You are stopping people from entering without any official order and without letting the public know? Who permitted you to do this? Have you approached the Centre telling them you cannot comply with their order for free inter-state movement?" Livelaw quoted Chief Justice Kohli as saying. 

The court also said that the state government has been patting its own back and observed that numbers and data on COVID-19 that are being put out are ‘far from reality’. 

During the hearing, after the lockdown was announced in the state, the Telangana High Court issued directions to the state government and police authorities with regard to the implementation of the lockdown as declared by the state.

Noting that the festival of Eid is in between the lockdown, the Telangana High Court directed the officials to collect video graphic surveillance in prominent places and submit the same to the court to ensure lockdown guidelines are implemented on the day of the festival.

The case was then posted for further hearing on April 17.