Petitions have been filed against the Delhi Government’s decision to reserve state-run hospitals and private hospitals for COVID-19 treatment of only “bonafide residents” of Delhi. (Gautam Kumar &Anr vs NCT of Delhi and Abhay Gupta &Anr vs NCT of Delhi)
One of the petitions has been preferred by Gautam Kumar, a lawyer registered with the Bar Council of Delhi and Gaurav Sarkar, a Campus Law Centre student.
The second is by petitioner-in-person Abhay Gupta and Prashant Arora, lawyers enrolled with Bar Council of Delhi.
In thepetition filed through Advocates Shashwat Anand and Syed Sarfaraz Karim, Gautam and Gaurav have argued that the decision to reserve hospitals for only Delhi residents, based on the production of certain identity proofs such as voter ID, ration card, bank passbook, is in violation of Article 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution of India.
It is argued that this classification by the Delhi Government was neither based on intelligable differentia nor met with the objective of controlling COVID-19 spread in Delhi.
The Petitioners against government decision for treatment in private hospitals have also argued that the decision is also violative of Article 19 of the Constitution as it “forces” some residents to move out of the city to seek treatment.
It is further contended that the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 does not confer any power on the Delhi Government to restrict the treatment of individuals on the sole basis of residence.
Similarly, Abhay and Prashant also argued that differentiation of the citizen on the basis of their residence was unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional in view of Right to Health. The petition stated,
“..classification of patients on the basis of Residents of Delhi and Non Residents of Delhi or otherwise is discriminatory and violates the right available to a citizen under Articles 14 and 21 and 47 of the Constitution of India.”
The petitions will likely be heard this week.