Punjab acts against LPU, issues show cause for violating Covid directions

Written by Anju Agnihotri Chaba
| Jalandhar |

Published: April 17, 2020 12:13:25 am

A View of Lovely Professional University near Jalandhar (Express photo by Renuka Puri)

India’s largest private university, Lovely Professional University, has been issued a show cause notice by the Punjab government for allegedly violating lockdown instructions of Government of India under Epidemic Act and order section 144 of CrPC.

In the tough worded order, the university has been asked to explain within seven days as to why the “NOC” issued to your university shouldn’t be withdrawn for violating Government orders and putting in danger the lives of about 3200 people and many more.

Interestingly the unsigned of this notice is not any senior officer of the department but a Superintendent. Copy of it is available with The Indian Express.

The notice mentioned that Minister Higher Education Punjab had ordered suspension of all kind of teaching work in all the institutions of the state of Punjab on March 13 which was widely covered by all the newspapers dated March 14th.

The department of Higher Education had also through its letter dated March 13 instructed all higher education institutions including “private institutions” to suspend teaching work.

The notice further says that the National Security Council of Prime Minister of India also issued guidelines March 17 under prevention and control of Infectious Diseases (measures within the infected local areas) Regulations 2020 and u/s2 of it, it was advised to stay home and to maintain social distancing as the Govt. of India and its states are considering the COVID-19 under Disaster Management Act 2005.

“Further it has now come to light that in spite of all the instructions, ignoring the gravity of the situation and jeopardizing the life of about 3200 people and thousands others to which infection can spread, you did not shut down completely,” the letter states.

“Considering the highly infectious nature of the disease and despite the fact that there was sufficient time for you to send all students to their respective homes from 13/3/2020 to 22/3/2020, but for no reasons you continued with the functioning of the university and the hostels and made no effort to send them to their homes, said copy of notice.

As it might be argued by you that the movement of students was not possible in light of complete lock down. There is no denying the fact that norms about maintaining social distancing were flouted as well as the administration was informed that university was completely shut and vacated, while that was not the case. It is amply clear that you did not pay any heed to instructions of the district administration dated 23/3/2020 and kept them in dark about whole situation,” the notice read.

The letter hit out at the university for not handling the situation earnestly when “you (were) well aware that there was a Corona positive case in your institution.”

It has come to light that university authorities did not cooperate with the district administration and health department in sending the patient to hospital. It is clear from above that your conduct and response has been extremely callous and irresponsible.

The matter was raised by various public representatives mainly Kapurthala MLA and former minister Rana Gurjit Singh who had written to Punjab CM and Union health minister and urged to take serious action for this violation.

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