May 13, 2021 10:09:03 pm
The High Court of Manipur has asked the state government to ensure that shops selling essential items are stocked-up and open, and ATMs are re-filled regularly so that people do not have to travel to other areas to get hold of basic stuff in the wake of restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The directive was issued by a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kumar and Justice Kh Nobin in response to a PIL filed by advocate A Jankinath.
The court further asked the state government to ensure pharmacies have adequate stocks and sufficient number of shops are kept open in each and every market area so that people from one area are not driven to shops in another area because of shortages.
“Misuse and abuse of the relaxations granted by the government, in violation of these norms, can only lead to further disaster. It is therefore not only for the state administration to be mindful and conscious of what is required of it at this time and to rise to the occasion but also for each and every citizen to do all that is within his keen to arrest the spread of this virus,” said the court.
The petition had claimed that the state government had violated the fundamental rights of the general public by imposing curfew and restrictions. It urged the court to not only to quash the curfew order but also direct the respondents to open bank and post office services in all districts of Manipur during a given time, allow retail vegetable vendors or grocery vendors to move about on rotational basis by relaxing certain curfew hours so as to enable the general public to get essential services during the lockdown period. It also urged the court to direct the government to allow people to transport food to the hospitals for the patients as well as their attendants.
In the course of the hearing, the court also noted that people who came out to buy medicine without doctor’s prescriptions are being harassed by the police. As such, it further directed the state government to sensitize its ground-staff, including the police, and ensure that such people are not subjected to harassment.
The court asked the respondents to file their counter affidavit on or before June 2 when the matter will be taken up again.
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