DIMAPUR, JULY 29: The Kohima Bench of Gauhati High Court has directed the Principal Secretary of Home, Nagaland, to modify the two SOPs recently issued in relation to re-opening of schools for students of Higher Secondary section, colleges and technical institutions.
In a judgment delivered on July 28 ~ against a PIL filed on the same day by Dr. Aniruddha Babar, an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Tetso College, Dimapur ~ Justice Songkhupchung Serto and Justice S Hukato Swu asked the Principal Secretary of Home Department to modify the SOPs that necessitates teaching and non-teaching staff to either be fully vaccinated or take the first dose of vaccine at least 15 days prior to the re-opening.
“The limited prayer of the petitioner in the PIL 8/2021 is that the conditions given at paragraph 2 of the two SOPs for opening of schools and colleges, i.e. teaching and non-teaching staffs should be fully vaccinated or should have taken the 1st dose of vaccine at least 15 days prior to the opening of schools or colleges, be modified so that those who choose not to be vaccinated may be given the option of being compulsorily tested every 15 days. After considering the submissions of the learned Counsel on this, and taking into account of the fact that no one can be compulsorily vaccinated, we are of the view that the option prayed for can be granted”, the Court ruled.
Also, it observed that in paragraph 8 of its July 20 order, while taking note of the high COVID positivity rate in 5 districts of the State, the Court had directed the Chief Secretary to “take some more special steps to contain the spread of the virus and for treatment of people who are already infected in those districts”, and file an affidavit showing the steps taken in that regard.
“But no affidavit has been filed. Therefore, the respondent No. 1 (Chief Secretary) is directed to file the same on or before the next date of hearing”, it stated, while listing the next hearing for August 18.
It may be noted that on the same day, July 28, the Kohima Bench of Gauhati High Court had heard two separate PILs against Nagaland Government’s ‘vax or no pay’ order issued on July 7 to Government employees.
“We have gone through the order issued by the Chief Secretary which is under challenge. We are of the considered view that prima facie the order is not in consonance with the orders passed by this Court in the PIL (Suo Moto) 1/2021 and right of the employees under the Constitution of India”, it had ruled.
Again, the Court had listed the matter to be heard on August 18.
“Till the returnable date, fees should not be charged for testing from Government employees and their salaries should not be stopped for reason of not having being vaccinated”, read the order.
One of the PILs against this Government order was filed by Dr. Aniruddha Babar, while the other litigation was filed jointly filed by Vitho Zao, Tia Longchar, Kikrukhonuo Pfukha and Rev. Pastor Azahto Sema.
(Page News Service)