Order of the Supreme Court of India regarding the state of health workers working with COVID-19 patients, 17/06/2020

Order of the Supreme Court of India in the matter of Dr Arushi Jain Vs Union of India & Others dated 17/06/2020 regarding state of doctors and health workers working with COVID-19 patients.

An affidavit was filed on behalf of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare in pursuance of Apex Court's earlier order. It stated that the healthcare personnels are not receiving their salaries regularly and that with respect to quarantine, there are no details of appropriate accommodations. Further, doctors or health workers, who were directly looking to the patients in COVID ward were not given the facility of quarantine as per guidelines dated May 15, 2020 - unless they are covered by high risk exposure.

Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General submitted that in so far as the payment of salary to the health workers and doctors are concerned, appropriate orders would be issued by the Central Government in exercise of power under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 which would be communicated to all the State Governments and Union Territories for compliance.

He further submitted that with regard to doctors and health workers, who are directly looking after the COVID patients and are in touch with the COVID patients, quarantine has not been denied. The SG suggested that looking at the requirement of doctors and health workers to manage the hospital, quarantine period should be initially for one week only and thereafter taking the profile of the health worker a decision should be taken for further period of one week.

The SC directed the Central Government to issue appropriate direction to the Chief Secretary of the States/Union Territories to ensure that the orders are faithfully complied with and any violation would be treated as an offence under the Disaster Management Act.