Days after a special bench of the Gujarat High Court made scathing criticism on the state’s BJP government for its inept handling of the COVID-19 crisis, the bench has abruptly been changed. In its order, Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court Vikram Nath has now replaced the bench comprising Justices JB Pardiwala and Justice IJ Vora with a new bench comprising himself and Justice JB Pardiwala.
The division bench of the Gujarat High Court had earlier this week come down heavily on the state government as the COVID-19 deaths in Ahmedabad neared 1,000-mark. Singling out the appalling condition of the Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad for criticism, the high court bench had termed the condition ‘pathetic’ and ‘as good as a dungeon or maybe even worse.’ While 764 people have died in Ahmedabad alone, close to 400 of them have died at the city’s Civil Hospital alone.
The bench had said, “It is very distressing and painful to note that the condition prevailing, as on date, in the Civil Hospital, is pathetic… We are very sorry to state that the Civil Hospital Ahmedabad, as on date, appears to be in an extremely bad shape.”
The bench had also slammed Health Minister Nitin Patel and Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Jayanti Ravi for poor monitoring of health care facilities. According to a report by Frontline, it had asked both of them to explain why they did not visit the hospital more often.
Justices J.B. Pardiwala and Ilesh Vora had even warned the state government without mincing words, “We sound a note of caution. The Superintendent of the Civil Hospital and other authorities of the Health Department of Gujarat shall keep themselves ready to find our presence one fine morning on a given day in the Civil Hospital. This would put an end to all the controversies with regard to the functioning of the Civil Hospital at Ahmedabad.”