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Delhi High Court Dismisses PIL Seeking Interference of Court in Directing Government To Substitute Treatment Protocol of COVID-19 Patients With a Cost of Rs. 25,000

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Case: VIVEK SHEEL AGGARWAL & ORS. V. UNION OF INDIA & ORS.

Excerpt

The petitioners had filed this Public Interest Litigation (PIL), requesting the court to direct the respondent to consider and respond to the representations of the Petitioners, and to hold a double-blind human clinical trial, and to lay down protocols against the use of antibiotics and steroids in the treatment of mild cases of Covid-19.

Facts of the Case 

The petitioner approaches the High Court to direct the Respondents to hold a clinical trial on the “Safety and efficacy of the use of antipyretics in COVID-19 Moralities”. He made various suggestions to the respondents to modify the Treatment Protocol of Covid -19 patients across the country. He also suggested certain protocols against the use of antibiotics and steroids in the treatment of mild cases of Covid-19. His suggestions were neither considered nor responded at present as the country is dealing with many crises.

Statements of the Counsels

Petitioner

The counsel for the petitioner stated that he had suggested the protocol of treatment to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. He added that the suggestions aim to reduce the use of antibiotics and antipyretics. He supported his hypothesis with International Research Papers. He also placed the opinion of Experts, Virologists and Doctors from across the world. The treatment protocol and the dosage is adopted in California for Covid-19 patients. 

Respondent

The counsel for the respondent stated that the experts in the field have devised the treatment protocol for Covid-19 patients in India. The government accepted the protocol after discussions, suggestions, trials, and medical knowledge of experts in this field. 

The Petitioner’s hypothesis is based on Research Papers and not on clinical trials. The treatment protocol includes administering medicines, injections, etc., which is a complex procedure. A team of experts take the decisions based on verified data and trials and the same was decided by experts or multi-member committees. Based on a mere hypothesis the government cannot substitute one protocol with another.

Observation of the Court

The Court observed that respondents have experts to decide the treatment protocol for Covid-19 patients in India. The team of experts make decisions based on verified data and trials. The court is not equipped with the necessary expertise or medical knowledge to even direct the Government to substitute one protocol with another. 

The officials in various departments are dealing with the Pandemic and are already overburdened in handling the crisis of the Pandemic. The officials have to handle patients, their treatment, and connected issues. Respondents No. 2 and 3 are handling another crisis of an emerging infection i.e. Mucormycosis. The court finds no reason to give any such direction to the Respondents to modify or change the treatment protocol. The Court cannot alter or even interfere in the same. 

Court’s Decision

The Hon’ble High Court dismissed this writ petition with costs of Rs. 25,000/- and directed the applicant to file signed and affirmed affidavits within one week. The petitioner must pay the amount to the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) within four weeks. The amount will be used for the program ‘Access to Justice’.

Click here to view the judgment.


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