Shillong, August 27: The Meghalaya High Court has pulled up Border Security Force (BSF) in the state and directed the border guards to ensure uniformity in the implementation of COVID-19 protocols for all its troopers irrespective of their marital status.
A two-member bench of Justices H S Thangkhiew and Wanlura Diengdoh said this in its August 24 order after hearing a PIL on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
During the hearing, the BSF submitted the standard operating procedure (SOP) for its personnel in which returnees with families have been directed to make their own arrangements to register and undergo quarantine.
The SOP submitted before the court mentioned that quarantine centres, where guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs and BSF Headquarters are being followed, are available for other BSF returnees.
The bench rued that BSF returnees with families are left to fend for themselves without any support from their organisation.
“This, in the opinion of this court, is unacceptable, in as much as, all personnel whether married or unmarried are serving in the BSF, and they cannot be given dis-similar treatment,” it said.
“It is therefore expected that the respondent No 12 (BSF) immediately correct the procedure and ensure uniformity in the implementation of guidelines and protocol to all its personnel irrespective of their marital status,” the bench said in its order.
Assam Rifles, also a para-military organisation, in an affidavit, said that quarantine facilities have been created at Shillong for all its personnel and the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) guidelines are strictly being adhered to.
Another aspect which has been flagged by the parties and merits urgent consideration is whether prior testing of the personnel be done before they enter the state, or they be subjected to compulsory testing at entry points.
This observation is being made in view of an order issued on May 25 in which state respondents had exempted the armed forces and central military forces (CAPF) from being tested at the entry points set up by the state government.
The bench was also informed that meetings have been held between the state authorities and the armed forces/CAPF in connection with the movement and transit of armed forces/CAPF personnel.
“It is expected that this matter be taken up and decision arrived at the earliest in such a meeting and the same reported back to this court,” it said. (PTI)