WANT RETIRED HC JUDGE TO HEAD PROBE INTO OXYGEN SHORTAGE
A set of public interest litigants have urged the Bombay High Court at Goa to set up a Judicial Commission to probe all deaths when the Covid-19 second wave ravaged the State in April-May and the GMC and government Covid hospitals faced medical oxygen shortage or supply related technical glitches.
The Bombay High Court was also informed that all of Goa’s nearly 3,000 Covid-19 deaths needed to be audited by the State much as many other States have already begun to do.
A group of petitioners, who filed PILs pin-pointing the State’s Covid management shortcomings made these and nearly a dozen other demands in response to the High Court’s direction to all the petitioners to list out issues that needed its intervention.
South Goa Advocates Association, which was one of the petitioners represented by its president Antonio Clovis Da Costa, said a panel of experts like doctors and statisticians needs to be appointed by the State government to conduct an audit of all Covid-19 deaths.
“Underreporting of deaths during the pandemic has been a global phenomenon occurring due to human error under the enormous pressure exerted on the system by the pandemic,” it said.
The Association said an audit will not only reveal the exact number of Covid-19 deaths but also serve to help the concerned authorities to save lives during the impending third wave of Covid-19.
The Judicial Commission, the petitioner urged the Bombay High Court bench, should be headed by a retired judge of the High Court and have on it a magistrate, two doctors and a DySP rank police officer to probe deaths due to alleged oxygen shortage.
“Persons admitted in the government hospitals have lost their lives only due to inadequate supply of oxygen. Some of these victims were the sole breadwinners of the family, some children have lost both their parents, etc. These victims need to be identified and their dependents/kin have to be adequately compensated depending upon their situation,” the petitioners said.
Tracing the victims and determining the quantum of compensation to be paid to their dependants should be part of its terms of reference as should be the task of identifying government officials, if any, who acted negligently resulting in the alleged oxygen supply issues, it added.