The Delhi High Court on Tuesday said it had not sought high-end Covid-19 care facilities for its judges and staff but instead only asked the government to ensure that hospitalisation for its employees was made available if required, reported Live Law.
The court confronted the Aam Aadmi Party government for making arrangements to use 100 rooms of Delhi’s Ashok Hotel solely for judicial officers. “No such request [was] made by us that set up a facility at this hotel or that hotels,” the bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said. “All that we wanted was, in case they need admission [to hospitals], there may be some facility available. And that has been converted to such an order.”
The High Court’s criticism came as it took note of media reports that highlighted the discriminatory nature of the Delhi government order. The Capital has been facing an acute shortage of medical supplies, oxygen and hospital beds. Residents of Delhi and other states have been desperately seeking assistance for beds, ambulances and medicines on social media as demand exceeds supply in most places across the country.
The High Court on Tuesday also questioned the motive of the Delhi government for the order on using the five-star hotel as a coronavirus facility. “What is the projection? That...it is to benefit ourselves or that you have done to appease us?” the court asked, according to Bar and Bench.
As an institution, the court cannot ask for five-star facilities, it said, adding: “Will this not be blatantly discriminatory that people can’t get treatment and there is a facility in a five-star hotel for us”. It further rapped the Delhi government for passing orders “left, right and centre without actually bothering or meaning to do anything about it”. The bench also called the Delhi government order “wrong”.
After the court’s remarks, the Delhi government said it will look into the matter and reply. The High Court has asked for corrective measures on the order, otherwise it will quash it.
In recent weeks, the Delhi High Court has made critical observations against the AAP government and the Centre while hearing pleas on the coronavirus situation. On Tuesday, it criticised the Arvind Kejriwal-led government on the distribution of medical oxygen supply and handling of the coronavirus pandemic in the national Capital. The court also said if the Delhi government was unable to handle the situation, it will ask the central government to send its officers and take over.
Delhi on Monday recorded 20,201 new coronavirus cases, pushing the overall infection tally in the national Capital to 10,47,916 since the pandemic broke out in January last year. The daily positivity rate was 35.02% and 380 new deaths, a record high, were reported. The toll stood at 14,628.