The Patna High Court has sought a reply from the Bihar government on a petition alleging poor condition of quarantine centres in the state where migrant workers have been mandated to stay for three weeks upon their return from other parts of the country.
A Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Sanjay Karol on Wednesday asked the state's secretary for Disaster Management Department to file an affidavit in response to the petition filed by Rajiv Ranjan Pandey, a resident of Saran district.
A preliminary objection was raised by Additional Solicitor General of India SD Sanjay who contended that the Centre "has already taken proper action and as such no interference is warranted".
Appearing on behalf of the state government, Additional Advocate General P N Shahi said he "shall have to ascertain the factual aspect and respond accordingly".
The petitioner had appended a couple of newspaper reports to buttress his point that there was "no check on the movement of persons housed at the quarantine centres" and that the quality of food served to the inmates was "not of the desired level".
The court directed the state government to file its reply by May 18, noting with concern that Bihar has the "highest population density" in the country and "any mismanagement" at the quarantine centres could lead to a substantial increase in the spread of COVID-19 in the state.