Delhi High Court Directs Government to Increase the Number of Beds and Ventilators in Hospitals

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Delhi High Court had directed the Delhi Government to increase the number of beds and ventilators for the COVID-19 patients. This was to allow all patients to avail the facilities.

Brief Facts of the Case

Mr. Hemant Singh filed a PIL in the Delhi HC through his Adv. Mr. Mridul Chakravarty. The PIL was against the Delhi Government and the Central Government. This PIL was to ensure the availability of adequate number of beds. The PIL was to ensure the availability of adequate number of beds in the State in both Private and Government hospitals. The PIL also sought non discriminate treatment for symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. The Division Bench heard the Petition. The Respondent assured that they were taking several efforts to improve the facilities. The Court acknowledged the respondents’ claims. It ordered them to increase the number of beds and ventilators in the hospitals.

Petitioner’s Prayers

a. To issue appropriate order/ writ/ directions upon the respondents to enforce strict cluster containment or sealing.

b. To issue appropriate order, writ to quash the Order of Respondent No. 2 dated 07.06.2020.

c. To issue writ, order to ensure the availability of adequate number of beds in the hospitals and provide adequate facility for admission of persons.

d. To issue appropriate writ, directions to implement Delhi Medical Association’s suggestions.

e. To issue writ, direction to ensure and provide facilities for medical tests without discrimination to symptomatic as well as asymptomatic persons.

Petitioner’s Argument

It was alleged that the Respondents had failed to declare the Defence Colony as a containment zone. They also submitted that there was a need for more beds, as the number of patients were increasing rapidly. The petitioner suggested the Delhi Government to utilise the ‘ready to move in’ flats to accommodate COVID patients.

Respondent’s Argument 

The Respondents claimed that only two houses in the Defence Colony included COVID Patients. Thus, the lane consisting of these two houses got declared a containment zone. The Respondents argued that concentration of COVID patients in that particular lane need not require the whole colony to be declared as containment zone. Further, the learned counsel assured that they had laid down Standard Operating Procedure to reserve some beds of private hospitals along with rooms of certain hotels as an extension.

Then, directions were issued by the Hon’ble Lieutenant Governor. All the hospitals should display the availability of beds on electronic boards. The counsel also specified the number of the beds and ventilators available. The learned counsel assured that they were strictly complying with the directions of the Central Government. They followed directions of other competent bodies and Hon’ble Lieutenant Governor too. They also assured that they would manage the petitioner’s concern about representation.

Court’s Observation

A Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan was set up. It was seen that the affected part of the Defence Colony was already a Containment Zone. Thus, the Court held that there was no need to declare the entire colony as a containment zone. Firstly, they acknowledged the respondents’ efforts to increase the beds in private hospitals. The Respondent had mentioned the availability of 2000 beds. The Court had taken cognizance of several issues in the Court on its Own Motion vs. State of NCT of Delhi & Others. The Court considered the Hon’ble Lieutenant Governor’s directions to develop electronic boards.

Secondly, the respondent had developed a mobile application for hospitals to upload their data. The Court considered this development too.

Court’s Decision

The Court held that the hospitals in Delhi should upload the availability of real-time bed capacity data. This was for the public to know in advance where to go if they were suffering from COVID. The Court directed the respondents to increase the number of beds for the patients. It directed them to increase the number of ventilators too. The were ordered to follow the Central Government’s directions and orders. It directed the respondents to consider the suggestions of the Delhi Medical Association. The Court appreciated the suggestions of the Petitioner. The Court appreciated the suggestions of the Petitioner to utilise the “ready to move in” Government flats to accommodate patients. The respondents were to keep these suggestions in mind while formulating and amending policy decisions.


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