The High Court of Bombay at Goa on Tuesday pulled up the District Magistrates of North and South Goa for modifying its earlier order which restricts entry in Goa without COVID-19 negative test reports done within 72 hours.
Last week, the Court ordered the Goa government to ensure that no person are permitted entry into the State without a negative test report of COVID obtained within 72 hours before entering the state.
Despite such order, the District Magistrates of North Goa and South Goa have issued orders dated 08.05.2021 covering several aspects, including inter alia the aspect of entry of persons into the State of Goa. The two District Magistrates have proceeded to carve out exceptions in favor of residents of Goa entering into the State; persons entering Goa for work; and persons who have vaccination certificate. Thereafter, by yet another order dated 09.05.2021 the District Magistrates have carved out an exception for persons entering in Goa for a medical emergency on production of proof or coming in an ambulance.
The bench of Justice MS Sonak and Justice NW Sambre observed;
“The District Magistrates were bound by our Order and could not have by themselves or otherwise modified our order or refused to comply with our orders. Fortunately, even the learned Advocate General for State of Goa does not defend the action of the District Magistrates and states that by today evening, necessary amends will be made in the orders issued by District Magistrates so that the orders are entirely consistent with our interim directions. The statement is accepted and the District magistrates are directed to act accordingly.”
Further the bench said, “We once again reiterate our interim Order dated 06.05.2021 but, retain the liberty to the State Administration to file detailed affidavit and urge variation or modification. We once again make it clear that the two District Magistrates are at liberty if they choose to make amends to their orders. In fact, the learned Advocate General has stated that such amends shall be made this evening. Irrespective of whether such amends are made or not from the midnight intervening 11th and 12th May 2021, the State Administration shall ensure that no person who does not possess a Covid negativity certificate based on a test done a maximum 72 hours before seeking entry into Goa, will be permitted to enter into Goa. The only exception shall be for persons entering in Goa for medical emergency on production of proof or those who are coming in an ambulance.”
The Court is proposed to hear the matter on the issue of supply of oxygen tomorrow.