COVID deaths to be put in public domains uncalled for by Bihar reluctance

To put the state’s COVID-19 death count in the public domain was a reluctance of the Bihar government which was uncalled for as observed by the Patna High Court on Friday. While hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Shivani Kaushik and others over the COVID management, the observation was made by a division bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice S Kumar.

According to the court, the state government is the most reluctant to put the COVID-19 death count in the public domain for whatever reasons. For any such action which is neither protected by any law nor aligns with any settled principles of good governance, in the court’s considered view, the resistance is uncalled for, the court added.

The court said that to dissolve the voluntarily or as mandated by law, whether the government has a corresponding duty and whether more than a population of 10 crore people of Bihar have the right to know on the digital platform, the number of deaths that occurred in the state during COVID-19 is the issue.

By adding 3,951 unreported fatalities, earlier this month, Bihar had revised its death count from 5,424 to 9,375.  About the right to obtain information online, the Patna High Court has also asked the state government to sensitise the people, particularly in the rural areas of the state.

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