By LE Desk

Hyderabad, May 12: The Telangana High Court has observed that government cannot restrict or stall ambulances coming into the State from neighbouring States carrying patients seeking medical assistance.

Taking exception to police not permitting ambulances ferrying COVID-19 patients from other States into Hyderabad at the borders, the HC wondered if that was that fair and humane. A bench of Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy yesterday made it clear to the authorities that unless the government issued a circular and an advisory well in advance on that matter, the ambulances cannot be stopped at the borders, The Hindu reported.

Taking a serious note of reports that police stopped ambulances ferrying coronavirus patients at the borders, the bench sought to know who gave orders to police to seal the borders. Advocate General B.S. Prasad informed the court that oral instructions were given by Chief Secretary on the matter to the police.

“Does the government run on oral instructions?” the CJ asked. The AG sought time to get clear instructions on the issue and assured to file a counter affidavit on the matter. The CJ recalled that during previous hearing the court had directed the authorities to conduct testing at State borders to ensure COVID-19 positive persons were identified and they did not spread the virus in Telangana with their movement.

That time State responded stating that the Centre had issued orders facilitating free movement of people across the State and no person can be restricted from entering the State. Quite contradictory to that government stand, police stopped ambulances entering the State from neighbouring States, the bench noted.

Making it clear that government cannot restrict people from other States coming to Hyderabad for better medical assistance, the bench said the government should issue a circular or an advisory to that extent in advance in case of scarcity of beds or unavailability of adequate medical equipment.

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