It is better to file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) than to curse the darkness. With that spirit, despite the lockdown, this advocate in Chennai has been doing his bit to plug loopholes in the government’s response to the corona scourge through a series of well meaning petitions at the Madras High Court.
While G.Rajesh’s first PIL to ensure supply of hand sanitisers at pharmacies across Tamil Nadu was filed before the lockdown, the Bench of Justice M.M.Sundresh and Justice Krishnan Ramaswamy had issued necessary directions, prompting the government to file a status report.
The next PIL was for the government to arrange for doorstep delivery of rations to eligible card holders to obviate crowds outside ration shops defeating the goal of social distancing. An interim order was passed by a Bench of Justice Vineet Kothari and Justice Suresh Kumar to ensure that physical distancing was maintained at these outlets, as the authorities had cited technical difficulties in doorstep delivery.
The third petition is to direct the government to procure fruits and vegetables directly from farmers at the taluk level through an Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee, so that the supply chain of perishable farm produce is intact. Rajesh says a Bench of Justice N.Kirubakaran and Justice Hemalatha passed an interim order directing the government to publish a helpline and contact details of Taluk officials in local newspapers and the social media.
The last two PILs were filed online and heard through video conferencing.
For this practising advocate and elected librarian of the Madras High Court Advocates Association, even during the lockdown, espousing a common cause is another entry in his legal catalogue!