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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

HC orders that all people entering Goa should carry covid-19 negative certificate

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Panaji: The Goa Bench of Bombay High Court on Tuesday passed strictures on State government for failing to implement its interim order mandating COVID-19 certificate for the people entering the state.

Both the District Administrations, last week, had issued the order making it compulsory for the non-Goans to produce COVID-19 certificate while entering the coastal state.

The Bench comprising Justice Nitin Sambre and Justice Mahesh Sonak noted that the HC’s interim order, last week,  had asked the State Administration to ensure that no persons are permitted entry into the State unless they possess a negativity certificate obtained within 72 hours from the time they seek entry into the State.

“We had also granted the State Administration liberty to file a detail affidavit and also urged that this Order be modified or varied. However, it was made clear that until this interim order is modified a negativity certificate will be a must for entry into the State of Goa,” the Bench observed.

The Judges pointed out that despite the clear and  unambiguous order dated May 06, 2021, the two District Magistrates (in Goa) either on their own or otherwise, have proceeded to carve out exceptions in favor of residents of Goa entering into the State; persons entering Goa for work; and persons who have vaccination certificate.

“The District Magistrates were bound by our Order and could not have by themselves or otherwise modified our order or refused to comply with our orders,” the Court ruled.

The Bench in its order on Tuesday said that fortunately, even the learned Advocate General for State of Goa does not defend the action of the District Magistrates and states that by today evening, necessary amends will be made in the orders issued by District Magistrates so that the orders are entirely consistent with our interim directions.

“The statement is accepted and the District magistrates are directed to act accordingly,” the Bench ruled.

The Court said that an exception can be made in respect of persons entering in Goa for medical emergency on production of proof or those who are coming in an ambulance.

The Bench ordered that from the midnight intervening 11th and 12th May 2021, the State Administration shall ensure that no person who does not possess a Covid negativity certificate based on a test done a maximum 72 hours before seeking entry into Goa, will be permitted to enter into Goa.

“The only exception shall be for persons entering in Goa for medical emergency on production of proof or those who are coming in an ambulance,” it added.

Posting the hearing for tomorrow (Wedensday), the Bench said that on the issue of supply of oxygen, we propose to hear the learned Counsel for the parties on May, 12.

“Besides, we are of the opinion that the affidavits explaining the actual position at the hospitals will be necessary in order to enable us to appreciate the issue,” the Bench said.

The Judges observed that  Advocate General states that the Dean, Goa Medical College and the Director of Health Services will file such affidavits by tomorrow, explaining the position of supply of oxygen at the Goa Medical College Hospital and the South Goa and North Goa District Hospitals, as also at the ESI Hospital.

“We suggest that the Director of Health Services to obtain inputs from the Nodal Officers at these facilities and file an affidavit before us.”

“The affidavit to indicate whether lack of oxygen supply continues to be the cause for any casualties. The affidvits to also give particulars about ventilators, HFNO machines, etc. in the context of supply of oxygen,” the Bench ruled.

The Judges also directed the representatives of Goa Association of Resident Doctors to file an affidavit before them on the issue of supply of oxygen at the various facilities where their members are called upon to discharge their duties.


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