Orissa HC Passes Interim Order against Disclosure of Identities of Covid Patients

Case Title: Ananga Kumar Otta v. Union of India & Ors. 

Case No.: WP (C) No. 12430/2020 Quorum: Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Dr. BR Sarangi

Appearance: Advocate Susanta Kumar Dash assisted by Ashutosh SahooSwetlana Das and Smruti Mohanty 

Central Government Counsel KC Kar and Advocate General AK Parija with Additional Government Advocate MS Sahoo (for Respondents) .

The interim direction has come in a PIL filed by Advocate Ananga Kumar Otta, seeking high level enquiry against the persons who revealed identity of Covid patients in the State. The court has issued notices to the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, the Government of Orissa and State’s Department of Revenue & Disaster Management, returnable by June 4.

the plea points out several cases whereby COVID-19 patients as well as healthcare workers, sanitary workers and Police, who are in the frontline for management of the outbreak, faced discrimination on account of “heightened fear and misinformation” about the infection.

Thus , the Petitioner has contended that the issue as to keeping the patients’ identities anonymous is required to be examined in the light of underlying issues of privacy, the stigma of being seen as a COVID-19 patient, and the urgency of response to a fast-spreading communicable disease.

Apart from a high level enquiry, the Petitioner has also pleaded the Court to put a check on the devastating consequences of disclosure of patients’ identity, by directing the Government to undertake a programme for making the people understand as to why there should not be any “social boycotting”.

By Priyanka of SPPU

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