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Gujarat high court asks state to ensure civic bodies follow its COVID policies

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The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday directed the state government to ensure that all civic bodies act as per the policies framed by the state for COVID-19.

The direction came during a suo motu petition being heard about the COVID situation in the state. The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) during the hearing told the court that it had withdrawn its earlier rule that mandated that only patients brought by 108 ambulances be admitted to municipal hospitals or in the AMC’s quota in private COVID hospitals.

It also said that its policy was not overriding any state rules. The high court directed the state to ensure that the corporations don’t do their `manmani’ and that they act as per the policy of the state and in conformation with the state.

Earlier the court had asked the AMC to ensure that hospitals attend to COVID patients irrespective of how they arrive at the hospital. AMC’s lawyer Mihir Joshi said it was working with the state government and though it abided by the court’s order, it believed the central system was more efficient. The AMC argued that it took the decision for better administration and in the interest of the common man.

Other high court observations

It also refused to give exemptions to Ahmedabad citizens to return to the city from other states without an RT-PCR test if they left and returned within 72 hours.

The high court had earlier pointed out that the AMC giving such exemptions was contrary to the notification issued by the state. It also pulled up the state for inconsistency in the data concerning the number of RT-PCR test machines in various districts.

When the state claimed that 72 RT-PCR machines were operational in the state, the court questioned how can the number of tests go down from 1,89,902 to 1,37,714 between April 23 to May 2 if the number of RT-PCR machines were increased.

The state said the test figures were dynamic. The court later directed the state government to submit the exact number.

 

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