On May 24, 2021 in the case– Anjan Nagg v. Union of India and 5 others, the Gauhati High Court sought response from the Assam Government on a bunch of Covid issues in the state’s tea gardens. During the pandemic, bunch of PILs were filed under the jurisdiction of the Gauhati High Court regarding the improper management of Covid in tea gardens. So, the bench comprising of Chief Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Ranjan Pathak ordered the state government to file an affidavit in support of themselves i.e. they have to show the test being carried out, measures taken during pandemic, what kind of tests are being carried out to determine the Covid- 19 infection.
The matters before the court:
The issue which was raised in front of the court by the petitioner was that there were about 800 tea gardens and 434 tea estates in Assam and the condition of the workers was pathetic and how no steps were taken by the government to improve the conditions. The core concern of the petitioner was that there was no proper implementation of the guidelines issued by the central government related to the management of Covid in the tea gardens. It also mentioned the lack of compliance with the rules which are mentioned in the Plantation Labour Act, 1951.
The other issues that were raised before the court included inadequacy of post Covid clinics for the proper aid and treatment of patients, who recovered from Covid-19. It also includes proper advise on various post effects of the Covid and how to take care of them after recovering from the deadly infection.
On the other hand, the contention raised by the Advocate General, Assam was that the state government is doing its work effectively. The government is well aware about the health of workers in these tea gardens and is taking proper measures in this regard. The advocate general further stated that 28000 workers of 208 tea gardens out of the 800 tea gardens have already been vaccinated and out of these 2000 have received the second dose too.
The Court observation:
After considering all the facts and figures, the court observed, "the situation may not be alarming as it is being made out". Nevertheless, the state government has to give a written reply which must come on record before the court on next hearing.
It is must to use Mobile Medical Units (MMU) in tea gardens for the testing and other purposes if it wasn’t done earlier.
The further hearing of the matter has been listed on 31st May, 2021. The government has to file a supporting affidavit and must show how the testing is carried out, what kind of test is being done, for the evolution of COVID-19 infection.