The Delhi High Court on Thursday has asked the Government to submit reports with reference to its submissions regarding the facilities available in hospitals in Delhi for the public in wake of the Covid 19 pandemic. The Central government and the Government of NCT of Delhi have been asked to submit its reports and after detailed submissions, the matter has been adjourned to July 16.
A division Bench of the Chief Justice and Justice Prateek Jalan today continued hearing its suo motu petition where the Court had taken cognizance of a video clip showing a man namely – Dharmendra Bhardwaj – struggling to find a hospital bed for his COVID-19 positive mother due to unresponsive helpline numbers.
The Court on the previous hearing had directed Government of NCT of Delhi as well as the Central Government that they shall take all necessary steps for ensuring real time updation of the data, without too much of a time lag, so that the information being received by the public is current.
The Court had also stated that if any Committee is appointed by Government of NCT of Delhi, the said Committee will also take note of this fact that there shall be real time updation of the data on the mobile application developed by the Government of NCT of Delhi.
It had directed the Central Government as well as the Government of NCT of Delhi that testing shall be carried out by the Central Government as well as the State Government run hospitals, as far as possible, subject to availability of testing kits with priority be given to the persons approaching for test on the recommendation of a doctor
During the hearing senior Advocate Chander Lall on behalf of the intervenor, informed the Court that private testing has gone out of the window after the prices have been reduced to 2500, and the private labs refuse to collect sample from home due to that. He added that whats also a huge concern is that its getting difficult for non-covid patients to get treatment. There are thousand of bed available according to the government.
Advocate Rahul Mehra submitted before the Court, “lets not get distracted by vacant beds, these might get filled in no time, we are also grappling with situation as its unfolding”
After hearing the submissions on behalf of the Central government, the government of NCT of Delhi, the amicus curiae and the intervenor, the Court read out its order.
The court made note of following submissions on behalf of Government of NCT Delhi:
- As far as availability of beds is concerned, in hopsitals with more than 50 beds, display boards have been put.
- Helpline numbers are made available and no patient is being refused treatment. Real time data will also be shared and will be reflected on the applications.
- Multi speciality hospitals are also available, and govt hospitals are giving treatment free of cost.
- Asymptomatic and mild symptoms patients are not to be treated so Covid patients can be treated properly. Websites have been made.
- IDSP format has been introduced and officers have been asked to update data in this format, which is real time data.
- For testing, there is no limit on testing and ICMR guideline is being followed. Approx 18k tests per day have been conducted.
- Availability of testing kits will also be looked into. Its been submitted that considering the population need is always more than availability of resources but they are trying to get sufficient test kits.
The Court appreciated the step taken by the Central government in assigning Special nodal officers by their names in government hospitals like Safdarjung, RML, Lady Hardinge and AIIMS, so there’s no difficulty in availability of infrastructure and updation of data.
The Chief Justice DN Patel has also stated that such nodal officers by their names must be employed in hospitals so public doesn’t face difficulty.
The Court made note of submissions of the amicus, that ambulance should be made available for covid and non covid patients with basic and advanced life support system, and the Government should inform how many ambulances are available.
The Court took note of the grievances expressed by the amicus, regarding functioning of some hospitals, including hospitals like Apollo, GTB, RML, etc and stated that these hospitals must be informed by NCT govt about these grievances. The Chief Justice then also clarified that these hospitals must be made aware of these grievances that are being faced by the people, but no action has to be taken right now.
“They must be aware about the grievances that were brought in attention of court. If they don’t listen then take action, don’t take action otherwise,” he said.
-India Legal Bureau