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Delhi HC asks AAP govt to treat as representation plea seeking capping of hospital fees

The plea also sought direction to the Delhi government to develop a mechanism whereby hospitals prominently display number of beds available.

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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Tuesday asked the Delhi government to treat as representation a petition seeking direction to it for capping or fixing rates to be charged by private hospitals for treating COVID-19 patients and to prominently display availability of beds for them.

The plea, filed by Vineet Kumar Wadhwa, through lawyer Praveen Chauhan, sought direction to the Delhi government to develop a mechanism whereby the hospitals here display availability of COVID 19 beds at a prominent place in the hospital and on their websites.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan, conducting the hearing through video conferencing, also asked the Delhi government to treat as representation another petition by a two-year-old boy highlighting the considerable risk faced by him and many other minors due to the Delhi government’s decision to lift the restrictions imposed to contain the spread of COVID 19.

The government will consider the representations and decide accordingly, the court said.

The child, in his plea filed through his father, said he resides in a joint family comprising working members who would be resuming work/ regular office pursuant to the Unlockdown as announced by the Delhi government with effect from June 8 and he is at considerable risk of contacting COVID-19 through these members due to lifting of restriction on movements.

Also read: Ajay Maken moves NHRC to seek reservation of 70% hospital beds in Delhi for Covid patients

The plea, filed through advocate Arjun Syal, said the situation has been further aggravated due to shortage of requisite healthcare infrastructure such as hospital beds and ventilators.

It highlighted the hardship and challenges faced by the residents of Delhi in getting admitted in hospitals despite having the patient testing positive for COVID-19 or showing symptoms and being a high-risk category patient, facing difficulty in breathing and in urgent need of getting medical assistance.

Meanwhile, the court disposed of a batch of petitions challenging the Delhi government’s June 7 order directing all its hospitals and also the private hospital and nursing homes to admit only bona fide residents of the national capital for treatment.

The court was informed by the counsel for Delhi government that the Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal has overruled the decision of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal that treatment for COVID 19 would only be provided to bona fide residents of the national capital in state-run hospitals.

On June 8, the LG also ordered strict compliance of ICMR guidelines, saying testing must for 9 categories, including asymptomatic contacts, of COVID 19 cases.

The court disposed of various petitions challenging Delhi government’s order after the petitioners — Abhay Gupta, Prakash Arora, Kunal Madan, Gaurav Prakash Shah and Ashok Yadav, did not press for their prayers.

The pleas had sought setting aside the June 7 order of the AAP government’s Department of Health and Family Welfare, saying the decision is unconstitutional, arbitrary, against the humanity and results in discrimination on the basis of residence of a citizen.

Gupta and Arora said in their plea that the government’s order is in direct violation of basic fundamental right to health of the public at large.

The act of the respondent (delhi government) to classify patients as resident and non-resident of Delhi is discriminatory and against the constitutional duties imposed upon the respondent. Right to Health, needless to say is a fundamental right, and can be abridged only in a manner known to law, or otherwise they are sacrosanct and sacred, and the respondent cannot deprive the citizens their fundamental right,” the plea said.

Also read: No community transmission of Covid-19 in Delhi, 5.5 lakh cases likely by July-end: Sisodia


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