The Bombay High Court Aurangabad bench on Tuesday observed that the “police machinery is under great stress and strain” and directed the Maharashtra government to relieve the personnel, who are engaged in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) duties, with other revenue department employees.
A single-judge bench of Justice R V Ghuge observed that many revenue department employees are off-duty and can be deployed to deal with applications seeking travelling pass, permissions to migrate in order to lessen the burden of police.
“The state government should consider deployment of such revenue officers, especially those below the age of 50 years, for the purpose of dealing with such activities and issues wherein police personnel need not be necessary, he said in the order. The court directed the government and local authorities to allot such duties to the revenue department”s ”off duty” employees in areas where policing or the presence of police authorities is not necessary.
The court also took cognisance an incident where a nurse working in the Aurangabad district general hospital in Chikalthana area was assaulted in her house by a group of persons who threatened her to leave the society as locals feared she could spread coronavirus infection there. It said that the police should consider, threats given to the medical staff to vacate their houses, seriously and initiate action against such offenders.
Government pleader D R Kale said that COVID-19 warriors would be given adequate protection through local administration and police.
Amicus curie Advocate A R Joshi raised that some of the residents have themselves created blockades in the colonies and internal roads wherever a coronavirus positive patient is noticed. “The Police Authorities should initiate steps to remove such unauthorized blockades and instead apply the Law and the restrictions with full force within the framework of the Constitution and the rights of the people.”
Justice Ghuge directed the state government to resort to legally permissible effective measures for implementing lockdown restrictions.
The Court also raised concerns over facilities thousands of sugarcanes harvesting daily wage workers (Oos Tod Kamgar) rendering seasonal service to nearly 12 sugar factories across Marathwada after advocate A R Joshi apprised the bench over a list of shelter homes or community canteen for them.
The Court noted that as per list given by Aurangabad District Collector, until April 16, only 9542 displaced employees had registered with community canteens having capacity to cater to 14293 persons.
Government Pleader Kale submitted that many other displaced workers may have registered later and complete data could be placed before the Court within four weeks.
The local administration is exerting day in and day out for dealing with the situation and is committed to taking care of such displaced/migrant workers, Kale said. Seeking responses from the authorities on the concerns raised, the Court posted further hearing on June 12.
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