Activist Ms. Latoya Mistral Ferns, Mr. Girish Chodankar, State President of the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee & Mr. Michael Ferns, Chairman of Goa Citizens Welfare Trust submitted a letter to CJI S. A. Bobde on 12 April, 2020. They sought immediate intervention of the court pleading to put a halt on the COVID-19 community testing survey to be held in Goa. The Chief Minister of Goa, Pramod Sawant announced a door-to-door survey on 7th April. He stated that around 7000 enumerators will be involved in surveying across the state who will check flu-like symptoms and travel histories of people. The testing will take place in Goa on 13th April.
The letter highlights the urgency of the matter. Petitioners have termed the survey as “ill-advised” and “inadequately planned”. The Goans delegated with the task are non-health department Government Servants like teachers, Anganwadi workers etc. They are not trained to detect the deadly virus. They are not capable of protecting themselves due to the lack of protective suits. Only masks and hand sanitizers are provided to them. Delay of even a single day will put the entire community at risk. The letter mentioned these aspects.
Mr. Dattatreya Naik had also filed a petition on behalf of Goa Secondary Teachers Association in the Goa HC with regard to the matter. However, the High Court delayed the petition on 13th April, the day community testing will begin. Petitioners stated that “We pray that urgent orders may be passed in the matter, as this Hon’ble High Court of Goa has delayed the hearing of the matter to Monday, April 13, 2020, by which time it will already be too late to protect the citizens of Goa, particularly the elderly and infirm of health as the potentially calamitous survey will have already begun for 700000 households.” The letter was written and addressed in initiation of a Public Interest Litigation.