HC seeks fresh status report over rising COVID cases

Court suspends physical hearing till further orders

Telangana High Court on Tuesday sought a fresh status report from the State government on the steps taken to contain spread of COVID-19 and proliferation of new virus variant, Omicron.

A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Abhinand Kumar Shavili, hearing a batch of PIL petitions pertaining to COVID-19, also wanted a report from the expert committee that advises the State government on measures to check the infectious disease. Earlier, counsels appearing for different petitioners requested the HC to instruct the government to consider undertaking all steps to ensure the pandemic did not rise its head like it did in the second wave last year.

Lawyer Chikkudu Prabhakar repeatedly requested the bench to hold hearing of cases in virtual mode in the backdrop of steep rise in COVID cases. He also wanted the government to shut all schools stating that children were said to be more susceptible to the new variant.

Advocate Ravichandran appealed to the bench to take up hearing of COVID-connected pleas even during Sankranti vacation for the HC as the positive cases were increasing multi-fold. Advocate General B.S. Prasad presented the status report filed by the Director of Public Health and Family Welfare on measures initiated by the government to stall spreading of the pandemic.

He informed the HC that all precautions were being taken by the government in the backdrop of the new variant spreading its tentacles much faster vis-a-vis other variant like Delta. The government was imposing fines on individuals not adhering to COVID-appropriate behaviour such as not wearing masks, he said.

Meanwhile, the HC announced immediate suspension of physical hearing of cases by all division and single benches of the HC till further orders in the backdrop of fast rising COVID-19 cases. The notification of the HC, however, said the judges would have the discretion over whether to hear cases physically or virtually.

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