Cuttack: The Orissa High Court directed the state authorities to preserve the identities of Covid-19 patients/ suspects. It also directed to ensure that the same are not disclosed either to the media or during inter-departmental communications.
The interim direction has come in a PIL filed by Advocate Ananga Kumar Otta, seeking high level enquiry against the persons who revealed identity of Covid patients in the State.
“Several cases have been reported of the people affected with COVID-19 as well as healthcare workers, sanitary workers and Police, who are in the frontline for management of the outbreak, facing discrimination on account of heightened fear and misinformation about the peculiar manner of infection”, the petitioner said.
Petitioner also made reference to an incident wherein a 37- year-old man hanged himself to death in Una district of Himachal Pradesh. Some villagers, suspected him to be suffering from COVID-19 despite testing negative for it and he was dropped at his residence by the health officials from the quarantine centre.
In this context the plea states that most states in India have a strict policy similar to that of ICMR – of not revealing the identity of COVID-19 patients. However, in cases where the identity is revealed, people have faced serious consequences.
A division bench of the Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice B.R. Sarangi also issued notice to the Central Government and the State Government seeking their reply. The matter is listed for hearing on June 4.