The Bombay High Court on Tuesday pulled up the Goa government for not fully complying with its order to make negative Covid test reports mandatory for every person entering the state, except in case of medical emergencies, PTI reported.
A bench of Justices Nitin Sambre and Mahesh Sonak expressed its displeasure with how authorities were exempting local residents from the order.
During a hearing on May 6, the High Court had instructed the government to ensure that from May 10, no person is let into the state without a certificate confirming they tested negative not more than 72 hours before their journey. The division bench directed the state government to immediately notify and publicise this rule, so that travelers are timely informed about it, according to Live Law.
Following the court’s directive, the administration of North Goa and South Goa districts issued orders last week making it mandatory for visitors to carry negative test reports.
But the Bombay High Court on Tuesday observed that authorities had carved out exceptions in favour of local residents, allowing them to enter without the said reports. Similar exceptions were also being made for those entering Goa for work and for those who carried vaccination certificates, the court said.
Unhappy with this, the court pointed out that its order was unambiguous, and that it applied to every person irrespective of whether they were a resident or a visitor to the state. It reiterated that an exception could be made only for persons entering Goa for medical emergency on production of proof or for those who are coming in an ambulance.
“The district magistrates…could not have by themselves modified our order,” the bench added, according to PTI. Advocate General Devidas Pangam, appearing for the state, assured the court that it would amend the orders by Tuesday evening.