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Contrary orders by different judges on COVID issues tarnishes judiciary image: Kerala HC judge

With varying orders being passed on COVID-19 related matters by different benches of the Kerala High Court, a single judge on Wednesday said it tarnishes image of the judiciary and asked the state government to move a request for allocating all such cases before one particular bench to avoid issuance of conflicting decisions.

Justice P B Suresh Kumar asked the state government to move the request before Chief Justice S Manikumar, and wondered what would people think about the high court and the judiciary if such contrary orders are passed on the same or similar issue.

Citing one such example of conflicting orders, Justice Kumar said while one judge of the high court had allowed engineering students’ plea to stop offline exams, in view of COVID-19, another judge dismissed a petition of medical students against conduct of offline exams.

The judge also said even the government lawyers, who are aware of filing of all such cases, do not inform the concerned bench that a related matter is pending before another bench or judge.

He asked the state government to immediately request the Chief Justice to allocate all matters related to COVID-19 to one bench or judge “to avoid passing of conflicting orders”.

The observations by the judge came during hearing of a plea by an association of private hospitals here seeking directions preventing the suppliers of oxygen to the hospitals in the state from increasing the price of oxygen during the pandemic.

During the hearing, the court was informed by the state government that the transportation costs of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) have been fixed.

The court on the last date of hearing had said that the prices of LMO and oxygen inhalation (medicinal gas) in a cylinder can be controlled effectively only if the transportation cost was fixed.

It had directed the state government to expedite the process initiated for fixing the transportation cost of LMO and oxygen inhalation (medicinal gas) in a cylinder.

Source : PTI

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