Observing that the response of the Delhi government on Covid patient care was vague and incomplete, the Apex Court directed the Delhi Government to file a “better affidavit” laying down its response to management of the Coronavirus crisis.
A bench comprising of Justices Ashok Bhushan, SK Kaul & MR Shah pulled up the Delhi Government for targeting doctors and healthcare workers while hearing in its suomotu plea titled “In Re Proper Treatment of Coronavirus Patients and Dignified Handling Of Dead Bodies In The Hospitals, Etc.”.
Pointing towards the lackadaisical approach, the bench told counsel for Delhi government ASG Sanjay Jain, that the government was suppressing numbers and threatening doctors.
“You Affidavit says everything is excellent in Delhi. You don’t want the truth to come out”Justice Kaul
“The doctors and nurses are soldiers. We are fighting a war. If we don’t treat them properly, how will you win the war? Your approach seems to be that you’re filing FIRs against doctors. You are shooting the messenger, the paramedics, the doctors! You are suppressing numbers and threatening doctors.”Justice Kaul
Further, the bench noted that all unfortunate steps taken by the Delhi Government towards health care workers must be withdrawn.
In light of this, the matter will further be heard on June 19.
The court had also issued notice to Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital, New Delhi, from where such shocking footage of mishandling dead bodies of coronavirus patients emerged.
The bench had expressed concerns at the reduction of coronavirus testing rates in Delhi and had also referred to “horrific scenes” of mishandling of dead bodies while taking into note pathetic conditions of the patients as per of a news report on India TV, telecast on June 10. The bench said,
“Dead bodies in the lobby, waiting area, wards…This is the state of a Govt hospital..”
Earlier, former Law Minister Senior Advocate Dr. Ashwani Kumar had written a letter to the courtwherein he had highlighted various reported incidents, ofill-treatmentof the Coronavirus patients and how their dead bodies were being manhandled.
In one such tragic incident an elderly man suffering from Coronavirus was tied to a bed, after he allegedly failed to make pay his fees for the treatment in Madhya Pradesh.
Similarly, a video had surfaced whereby government workers in Puducherry were seen throwing the body of a COVID-19 positive man into a pit.
He had pointed out that even the Supreme Court has recognized the “right to die with dignity” as a fundamental right in various cases and has asserted that the Court has the “duty and the power” to ensure that the law declared by it is properly enforced.
Kumar stated in his letter,
“It is requested that the Court takes suo-motu notice of the matter. In view of the shocking infraction of the fundamental right to dignity…Your Lordships are respectfully requested, to issue such orders, writs or other directions as will effectuate the citizens’ right to die with dignity.”