Staff Reporter :
District Collector and Commissioner of Police have decided to conduct RT-PCR test of 1,051 police personnel and frontline health workers deployed in two containment zones of Satranjipura and Mominpura to fight COVID-19 pandemic as directed by the High Court. The decision to conduct phase-wise test of police and healthcare workers was communicated to the High Court in a joint pursis signed by Ravindra Thakare, District Collector, and Dr Bhushan Kumar Upadhyay, Commissioner of Police. The High Court had asked them to take a decision within 48 hours. Both the officers, after assessing the situation, took the decision within time.
The authorities informed the court that 798 police personnel and 295 medical personnel working in two containment zones of Mominpura and Satranjipura had been identified. The State has already conducted test on 42 medical personnel. Hence, RT-PCR test of 1,051 frontline workers will be conducted now as per the decision. A division bench consisting of Justice Ravi Deshpande and Justice Amit Borkar then directed the State Government to file additional affidavit on compliance of earlier directions in PIL filed by Citizens Forum for Equality through its President Madhukar Kukdey. During earlier hearing, the High Court had praised the medical and police personnel for risking their lives in fight against COVID-19 pandemic and strongly suggested to ensure their protection.
Comparing them with what the bravehearts of the Armed Forces do day in and day out, the High Court had applauded them for “answering the call of duty at the risk of falling prey to the deadly virus.” Justice Rohit Deo had directed the District Collector and Commissioner of Police to immediately start RT-PCR test for all doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, police personnel, pharmacists attending to COVID-19 patients in war against the disease.
The High Court had specifically asked the authorities to go beyond the advisory or guidelines issued by ICMR to cover even the asymptomatic frontline warriors and not to wait till the symptoms manifested, to minimise the risk to the medical and police personnel. Adv Dr Tushar Mandlekar argued for the petitioner Citizens Forum for Equality, Nagpur. ASGI Ulhas Aurangabadkar (ICMR and Union of India), GP Adv Sumant Deopujari (State), Adv Sudhir Puranik (NMC) represented the respondents.