HC Lifts Interim Stay Order on AAP’s Reservation of Pvt Hosp Beds
HC says AAP’s September notification is an “outdated reality” and the ground situation is much more critical.
The Delhi High Court division bench has lifted the single-judge bench order of the interim stay on Delhi government’s decision to reserve 80 percent of private hospital ICU beds for COVID-19 patients in 33 private hospitals, reported PTI on Thursday, 12 November.
“Situation is dynamic in Delhi, AAP govt must keep its hand on pulse to be able to cope up with situation,” the court said.
The court had posed queries on Thursday on why the Delhi government has sought only 33 private hospitals out of the remaining hospitals for the reservation of ICU beds for patients with coronavirus.
Reprimanding the AAP government, the HC said that their “September notice (regarding bed reservation) is outdated” and the “situation on the ground is much more critical” with the number of daily COVID-19 cases “on the rise”, according to PTI.
Expressing concern over the relaxed protocols, the court added, “State is responsible for the health of all citizens for which others have to chip in, including private hospitals. The Delhi government can’t be allowed to play with the lives of citizens.”
Furthermore, the court directed the state government to be “more alive to the current situation” and inquired about the exercises it has carried out when making such reservations.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, who represented the Delhi government on Thursday, asked the HC to enforce a reservation of 80 percent ICU beds for COVID-19 patients in 33 private hospitals for a minimum of 15 days, reported PTI.
“Empower me (Delhi government) today to address the dynamic situation. We will take steps to complete the deficiency,” ASG Jain said, as reported by the Hindustan Times.
AAP Government's Order on ICU Beds
On 12 September, the AAP government had issued an order asking 33 private hospitals to reserve 80 percent of their ICU beds for COVID-19 patients. This order had been contested by a petition by the Association of Healthcare Providers, and the HC had stayed the order in their favour on 22 September.
The government approached the Supreme Court on 10 November to appeal the order but was turned down by the apex court, who refused to “interfere and undermine the authority of the HC”, according to the Hindustan Times.
ASG Jain argued that the rise in COVID-19 cases warrants more ICU beds. The court wanted to know what areas are most affected and whether financially weaker patients were being shifted to Radha Soami Beas Satsang facility from government hospitals due to the non-availability of government beds, reported PTI.
Kejriwal Allots 70-acres to Set Up 10,000 Beds
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced on 1 July that he turned the satsang centre into a quarantine facility, where out of 300-acre of land, 70-acres would be used to set up 10,000 beds for mild and asymptomatic patients.
“There are many people who do not have the facility of isolating themselves at home and many people also reside in slums. So, in that case, across Delhi, we have set up COVID-care centres,” Kejriwal said to The Print.
ASG Jain said that 2,000 beds are currently functional at the centre because people were not willing to go and get admitted there. The ASG assured the court that the government is taking steps, and a meeting will be set up with Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on 16 November, reported the Hindustan Times.
To this, the court said, “If you were conscious, you would have taken the steps. You are acting because you were prodded and pushed to do so”, reported the Hindustan Times.
Third Wave of Covid-19 Has Hit Delhi
India has detected close to 48,000 new cases by Thursday morning, 12 November. The court’s observations came at a time when Delhi is seeing a third wave of the pandemic and has recorded a new high with more than 8,500 cases on Wednesday, 11 November. The festive season, drop in the temperature, and the rise in pollution are only making matters worse for the capital city.
The HC has observed that whilst other states are imposing restrictions, the Delhi government is “relaxing all norms, with caution being thrown to the wind”, directing the Delhi government to file a status report on the steps taken to curb the spread of coronavirus in the last two weeks.
(Inputs from PTI, Hindustan Times and The Print)
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