The Supreme Court on Wednesday observed that the response of the Delhi government on patient care was vague and incomplete, reported Live Law. “Your affidavit shows everything is excellent in Delhi,” Justice Ashok Bhushan said sarcastically as the top court asked Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, representing Delhi, to submit a “better affidavit”. The bench will hear the matter again on Friday.
The bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MR Shah pulled up the Delhi authorities for targeting doctors and healthcare workers. “All unfortunate steps that have been taken from your end must be withdrawn,” said Justice Kaul. Justice Bhushan called nurses and doctors soldiers in the war against Covid-19. “If you don’t treat the soldiers well then how will you win the war?” he asked.
The court castigated the Delhi authorities for its actions against doctors who have been critical and have highlighted the government’s apathy. “You have suspended the ones who have shot a video of doctors,” said Justice Bhushan.
“You are shooting the messenger, the paramedics, the doctors,” Justice Kaul said, adding that the Delhi government’s approach seemed to be to file FIRs against doctors. “You are suppressing numbers and threatening doctors.”
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The Delhi government told the Supreme Court that it was committed to patient care, managing of bodies and raising number of Covid-19 tests. The government’s response came days after the top court pulled up the Delhi authorities amid a spurt in cases in the national Capital. As of Wednesday morning, Delhi’s tally stood at 44,688, of which 1,837 people have died. However, there is a discrepancy in the number of fatalities, with the municipalities pegging the toll at over 2,000.
The court had taken suo motu cognisance of cases where proper treatment was not being meted out to Covid-19 patients and the bodies of people were not being handled in a dignified manner. This is the second suo motu petition taken up by the top court concerning the Covid-19 crisis. Earlier, the court had taken up the difficulties faced by the migrants who were left jobless by the nationwide lockdown.
On June 12, the Supreme Court had said that requests for coronavirus tests cannot be denied on technical grounds. In a notice to Delhi, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and West Bengal governments, the court had asked the respective chief secretaries to submit a detailed report on patient care. The top court had also cited media reports to highlight the “deplorable condition” in which bodies were being handled.
After the court’s rap, Union Home Minister Amit Shah held a meeting with the Delhi government and announced measures like increased testing and provision of railway coaches to bring the Capital’s outbreak under control. He also chaired an all-party meeting on Monday to discuss the situation in Delhi.