Delhi HC Orders Inspection of Night Shelter at AIIMS After 22 People Tested Positive

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The Delhi High Court, in the case of Karan Seth vs Govt. of NCT of Delhi and Others, ordered the authorities to conduct a Videography inspection. Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar heard the matter.

Facts of the Case

The non-COVID patients taking treatment were residing in the Night Shelter of the AIIMS. Two patients who had been visiting Jan Kalyan Hospital at Karol Bagh for their treatment tested COVID-19 positive. Fifty-one other patients residing there were tested for the COVID-19, and 22 were COVID positive.

Arguments of the Parties

Mrs Rachna Malik, a volunteer, had been visiting the night shelter at AIIMS. She stated that there is no clean drinking water facility at the night shelter. She has been purchasing and providing the same.

Some concerns were raised by her which had a different version than the Respondent.

  1. She pointed out that the toilet facility at the night shelter is inadequate and filthy. Even though the toilets are cleaned twice a day, due to lack of water, they get soiled very fast. The Counsel on the instructions of Mr N.H. Sharma, Director of the Night Shelter, stated that the toilets are separate. He also contested that they are maintained. The Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) also attends to the checking of the toilets.
  2. Ms Malik stated that the occupants of the night shelter use the toilets and the kitchen of the Vishram Sadan. The Counsel for the Respondent clarified that there is a separate cooking facility available for them and the occupants do not use them.
  3. Ms Malik stated that one of the accesses to the night shelter is through the Vishram Sadan of AIIMS. The patients and the attendees approaching the night shelter is through the Vishram Sadan. The Respondent stated that the two facilities are within the AIIMS complex, but their entries and exits are different.
  4. Ms Malik also observed that there is no monitoring of persons who visit the night shelter. She suggested that there should be maintenance of a register. The Counsel for the Respondent stated that there is no possibility of access of the night shelters by any outsider. Also, they monitor the persons who come and their details maintained.

Observation of the Court

The number of persons occupying the night shelter was 105 as on 19.05.2020. The doctors of the Delhi Health Service decided that only 51 of the occupants need testing for COVID-19, and not all.

The mother of one of the infected patients left the night shelter without waiting for the COVID test result. Ms Malik had raised this issue with the caretaker, yet she was allowed to leave.

The status report filed by DUSIB also discloses that the patients who have tested positive, have shifted to two hospitals. The Court noted that all the 22 positive COVID patients moved to other far-off hospitals instead of AIIMS COVID facility.

Court’s Decision

The Court directed the Doctors to file an affidavit. It further directed a local inspection of the night shelter. This was in light of the different versions. The Court ordered the authorities to inspect on the same day without any delay.

Ms Malik stated that Mr Sanjeev Malik, her husband would be able to go for local inspection. It was because she has placed herself in self-quarantine. Hence, the Court directed Mr Malik to conduct the inspection.

Mr Malik will record the entire proceedings. The Court also directed Mr Sharma, Director, DUSIB, to ensure that the representative of DUSIB and others concerned join the proceeding. It also directed the Chief Secretary, GNCTD, to examine the inspection report.

The Court impleaded Ms Rachna Malik as a proforma party respondent in the matter. The Court has listed the matter next on 27.05.2020.


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