To Appease Us?: Delhi HC Slams AAP Govt for 5-Star COVID Facility
“When people aren’t getting beds, you are passing such orders? Is it to appease us?” the HC said.
The Delhi High Court rapped the state government for allotting 100 rooms in 5-star hotels as COVID care centres for judges, taking a suo motu note and issuing a notice on Tuesday, 27 April.
"When people aren't getting beds, you are passing such orders? Is it to appease us? You can't create special facility like this. We never asked for it."
Chanakyapuri sub-divisional magistrate Geeta Grover had put in an order on Monday, 26 April, giving the nod to convert 100 rooms of Ashoka Hotel into a COVID-care facility for judges of Delhi High Court, judicial officers and their family members.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has directed Primus Hospital to run the healthcare facility for not greater than Rs 5,000 per patient per day, for its medical services to patients inclusive of all consumables, services of doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, and nursing staff etc as per the norms.
As per the order, the hospital must provide for any shortage of hotel staff, and services like housekeeping, disinfection and food for patients shall be provided by the hotel at a price not greater than Rs 5,000 for five-star hotel and Rs 4,000 for four/three star hotel per day per person.
We Did Not Make Any Such Request: HC
The Delhi High Court categorically informed the Delhi government’s counsel Rahul Mehra that the court had made no request for having a 5-star hotel as a quarantine centre.
The court said that the meeting which was held was about providing some facility for admission of judges of the subordinate judiciary who actually have to go to courts. The court had expressed concern after the death of two judicial officers.
Can we as an institution say that create a special facility for us? Will this not be blatantly discriminatory that people can’t get treatment and there is a facility in five star hotel for us?Delhi High Court
The court further conveyed to the Delhi government that it is “unfortunate” that when there is a paucity of oxygen in the city, the government is planning to have a 100-bed facility for the high court judges.
“It is unthinkable that as an institution we would demand preferential treatment’, the court said.
What the Sub-Divisional Magistrates Order Said
“Disposal of biomedical waste will be the responsibility of the hospital. The staff of hotel shall be provided all protective gear and given basic training. Ambulance for transfer facility will be provided by Primus Hospital,” the order had said.
The order added that the hospital will charge the patients and make a payment to the hotel. After mutually deciding rates, the hospital may also accommodate their doctors, nurses and other paramedical staffers at their own expense after mutually deciding the rates.
“However, investigation charges, if any, shall be charged by the linked hospital at their scheduled rates and for oxygen support the linked hospital is allowed to charge at the hotel at Rs 2,000 per day basis,” the circular stated.
Dinesh Kumar Meena, Executive Magistrate, New Delhi District, as per IANS has been directed to coordinate with the Primus Hospital and the hotel authorities for setting up of the facility.
‘Ridiculous’: Citizens React
Netizens have come down heavily on the decision, tweeting that HC judges must face the same ground reality of overwhelmed infrastructure as common people.
Delhi’s Healthcare Crisis
New Delhi’s Jaipur Golden Hospital on Saturday, 24 April, said that 20 people had died while in care due to oxygen shortage, reported ANI. The hospital added that its oxygen supply would only last half an hour now. Delhi’s Moolchand hospital sent out an urgent SOS call, stating that it had less than two hours of oxygen support remaining.
As Delhi grapples with an acute shortage of oxygen, the Centre and the Kejriwal government are at loggerheads over the setting up of eight oxygen plants, which had been sanctioned under the PMCARES (Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations) Fund last year.
The Delhi High Court, in its hearing of a public interest litigation seeking the court to monitor the management of the COVID-19 crisis in Delhi, on Monday, 26 April, instructed the Centre and the Delhi government that it is both their jobs to manage the acute shortage of medical oxygen in the national capital.
While appealing to other states to not restrict the supply of oxygen to Delhi, the high court categorically stated that such intervention in the supply of oxygen would amount to endangering hundreds of human lives.
As the healthcare system struggles to handle the second wave of COVID and many states imposing night curfews and strict restrictions to control the movement of people, hundreds of migrant workers in different areas of the country were seen rushing to bus stops and railway stations in the hope of getting home.
Several crematoriums in the country have been reporting long queues and are working overtime to cope with the surge in the number of deaths from India’s accelerating COVID-19 outbreak.
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