The High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday directed the State government to lay down a standard protocol for the systematic functioning of the State-Level Committee (SLC), set up as per the apex court’s directions to inspect, monitor and supervise COVID-19 hospitals and COVID Care Centres (CCCs).

The SLC and similar committees set up for Bengaluru city and other districts also must have a uniform protocol to ensure that they evaluate facilities such as ambulances, hygiene, and the quality of food served to patients at hospitals and CCCs.

As the SLC has already begun its works, the court directed the member-secretary to submit the protocol already followed by the committee.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Aravind Kumar issued the directions while hearing PIL petitions on issues related to COVID-19 health management.

Medical certificate

The Bench also directed the government to ensure that medical certificates issued in cases should be strictly as per the forms prescribed under Karnataka Registration of Births and Deaths Rules, 1999, and COVID-19 should not be unnecessarily mentioned in the certificate issued either by hospitals or individual medical practitioners when the cause for death is not related to the disease.

The Bench asked the government to consider enhancing the accident insurance scheme to ₹50 lakh from the present ₹30 lakh for the police, fire force, and Home Guard personnel, anganwadi workers, pourakarmikas, sanitation workers, and sanitation-related vehicle drivers and loaders, in case of death due to COVID-19 duty. It should be on a par with the Union government’s Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan package. Though the government said it had received complaints on the death of Manjunath S.T., who was a doctor serving at a government primary health centre at Kanakapura in Ramanagaram district after he was allegedly denied admission by three private hospitals in the city in the absence of a COVID-19 test report, the Bench directed the authorities to conduct an inquiry and submit a report.

Hearing on purchases

The Bench also said it would on August 6 hear the plea complaining about alleged illegalities in purchase of equipment at exorbitant rates for handling the pandemic by the State government.