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JAMMU — Welcoming the efforts of the government and taking stock of the entire COVID-19 situation, the J&K High Court on Thursday said that much more was required to be done in Jammu and Kashmir.

Among others, a division bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Sanjay Dhar said that the court’s directions are primarily needed in respect of supply of oxygen to patients at home, seeking the services of infectious disease specialist, removing the deficiency, if any, in regard to availability of ventilators, oxygen, beds and medication including Remedisivir besides for removing shortage of doctors and the staff, if any, as well as the registration and vaccination of lawyers.

“To resolve difficulty faced in the supply of oxygen to the patients at home, the Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education is directed to nominate adequate number of Nodal Officers for each city and to publicise their full details with contact number etc so that such patients or their relatives may approach them with proper medical prescription for the supply of oxygen,” the court said.

“Once they are so approached, they shall take immediate and adequate steps to ensure the supply of oxygen where it is found to be needed without causing any harassment to anyone,” the court said.

The court observed that it was not sure as to the availability of infectious diseases specialists in J&K or whether such specialist is necessary in the present situation.

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Nonetheless, the court said, the Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education is expected to explore the number of such specialists available throughout the country and the possibility, if any of them is willing to serve the J&K, “if such service of an expert is genuinely needed.”

“The shortage of oxygen, medicines including Remdesivir or of doctors or staff is not born out from any material on record therefore it is not appropriate for the Court to enter into the arena at this stage and leaves it upon the Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education to come out on affidavit within two weeks with complete details of the number of hospitals, both government and private, available for Covid treatment, number of beds available thereof, District-wise/City-wise, quantity of Remdesivir allotted to the J&K, the exact quantity of Remdesivir received and used etc with the corresponding figures of the requirement,” the court said.

The court also observed that since this is not an adversarial litigation, “we hope and trust that no one would make any effort to draw any mileage out of it so as to reduce it to a personal interest litigation or a publicity interest litigation.”

“The media would also act cautiously in the best interest of the public and country,” it said.

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In so far as the registration and vaccination of lawyers above the age of 45 years, the court said it poses no problem in the light of the submission of the Advocate General D C Raina that it can be done without difficulty.

“It can easily be resolved by directing the Registry of the Court to discuss the issue with the Finance Commissioner, Health and Medical Education with the help of Advocate General to get some date fixed for the registration of such advocates and thereafter some dates for their vaccination which may be notified to carry out vaccination in groups either at some suitable place in the High Court Campus or Medical College or Hospital as may be agreed upon,” the court said, adding, “The above exercise be completed within a week beginning from May 6.”

Regarding vaccination of lawyers between the age group of 18 to 45, the court said that they are advised to get themselves registered for vaccination online as per the prescribed procedure.

“Once they are registered, they will be provided facility of vaccination in group again on appropriate dates and a suitable place or otherwise they will be given a slot for vaccination on priority at the earliest, if possible within a period of two weeks from the date of registration,” it added.

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