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HC directs Collector to restrict gathering in Kasaragod district; CPI(M) meet affected

HC directs Collector to restrict gathering in Kasaragod district; CPI(M) meet affected

Published:21 January 2022

The order came on a PIL alleging that a recent order passed by the Collector listing the restrictions withdrawn only to conduct the district conference of CPI (M) in the district. The petition came on the day when the CPI(M) conference was being held in Kasaragod.

Kochi | The Kerala High Court on Friday directed the Kasaragod District Collector to ensure that no meetings are conducted in the district with a participation of more that 50 people because of COVID-19.
The order came on a PIL alleging that a recent order passed by the Collector listing the restrictions withdrawn only to conduct the district conference of CPI (M) in the district.
A Division Bench of Justices K Vinod Chandran and C Jayachandran said the government cannot blow hot and cold by saying that while imposing restrictions, they are not looking at the TPR and are more concerned with hospitalisation.
"...we issue an interim order directing the District Collector ...to ensure that no meetings are conducted within the district allowing participation of more than 50 people. This interim order shall remain in force for a week with any more stringent conditions being at the discretion of the District Collector," the court said and posted the matter on Monday.
The public interest litigation petition said the government was not looking at the Test Positivity Rate (TPR) and has classified the districts for containment and restrictions based on the hospital admissions in each of the districts.
The petition came on the day when the CPI(M) conference was being held in Kasaragod, which the party's State secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan justified by saying that all COVID-19 health protocols were being followed in the meetings.
"Suffice it to say that the government cannot blow hot and cold by saying that they are not looking at the TPR and are more concerned with the hospitalisation which is very minimal, as propounded by the State and again fall back upon the TPR to convince us of the minimal severity. Having negated TPR, the government cannot again fall back on the TPR to say that there could be public meetings conducted without any restrictions," the court said.
The government informed the court that in Kasaragod 250 beds are kept exclusively for COVID-19 patients, of which only 89 beds (39 per cent) are now occupied. Out of the 40 ICU beds set apart, the present admission is only seven which comes to 18 per cent. The government said 11 ventilators have been kept ready for each district, and not one has been put to use for COVID 19 patients as of now.
"In such circumstances, the Kasaragod District does not fall under any of the three categories. It is also submitted that the TPR in the different wards of the district is only around five," the government submitted before the court.
The government had said the restrictions would be imposed at the district-level on the basis of the number of people admitted to hospitals and authorised the disaster management authority to divide the districts into three groups of A, B and C. Kasaragod does not fall under any such category in the order issued on January 20.
Welcoming the High Court order on restrictions in Kasaragod, Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan said it was blow on the arrogance of CPI(M).
"The CPI(M) was challenging the people by organising conferences with 300-500 delegates. The order on Kasaragod is also applicable to Thrissur district where another conference is being held," Satheesan said.
Kerala on Friday logged 41,668 fresh coronavirus cases, taking the total caseload to 55,29,566, a day after registering 46,387 cases, the highest single day spike since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020.


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