Delhi High Court Disposes off Petitions Filed for the Non-COVID Patients Treated in AIIMS

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On May 14, the Delhi High Court heard petitions related to the facilities provided in AIIMS. The bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar heard the matter.

Present Status of the Case

The High Court decided to hear both the matters together. The petition filed by Mr Karan Seth had raised four contentions in the previous hearing. The Court had directed the authorities to file a report on those issues.

The petition filed by Ms Rachna Malik was about the medicines provided by AIIMS. The Court, while hearing this petition, requested to hear both the matters together. Both the petitions asked for similar reliefs. The authorities filed the status report as proposed by the Court on the contentions raised. 

Contentions raised by the petitioners

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Firstly, the petitioner contended that there was overcrowding in the night shelter. It led to the violation of social distancing norms.

The State Counsel said about 57-59 persons in the night shelter have already left for their native places. The petitioner has also provided a list. It states about 93 such persons, who also expressed their desire to go back to their native places. The Counsel for the State said the Sub District Magistrate (SDM) could provide the travel passes.

AIIMS also filed a status report. The report said that they could also accommodate about 50-60 persons in their Vishram Sadan. He stated that the social distancing norms at night shelter would resolve in a week or so due to two reasons:

  1. People were leaving the night shelter.
  2. AIIMS was offering to accommodate 50-60 persons.
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Advocate Chauhan for DUSIB submitted that:

Gargi School or Pratibha School are not needed as shelters anymore. He further stated that in any case, the responsibility of the management of accommodations is of DUSIB.

The petitioner contended that the persons shifted to Gargi School are facing problems. They are not able to afford transport to AIIMS to receive treatment. In this regard, the Counsel for GNCTD had filed a compilation of documents. It contains orders passed by the SDM for issuance of bus passes to the patients and their attendants.

The petitioner also requested clarification for the treatment of urgent and non-urgent patients. Ms Rachna Malik gave a solution. She said the patients who need regular treatment should be sheltered at AIIMS or the night shelter opposite AIIMS. Others could be put up at Gargi School or the Pratibha School. The petitioner claimed that GNCTD is providing food. But the same does not meet the needs of some patients. This is due to their specific medical condition.

Observation of the Court

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The Counsel for DUSIB stated that the food is provided to all the patients and their attendants. DUSIB though expressed that it does not fall within its scope to provide special diets. Radha Swami Satsang, Beas is arranging the special food for the patients for now.

The second petition raised a limited grievance with regards to the Pharmacy at AIIMS. She stated that the Pharmacy has stopped functioning. The same was dispensing free medication to the patients receiving treatment at AIIMS. The status report filed by AIIMS shows that the Pharmacy started functioning from 06.05.2020.

The Counsel for the petitioner said patients were not able to get the medicines. It was because the endorsement on the OPD Cards was not there. The reason was the suspension of OPD at AIIMS. AIIMS is also keen to start the OPD in a phased manner. In the next two weeks, AIIMS would re-start its OPD services at least in a limited way.

AIIMS is providing telephonic consultations to patients by fixing the appointments in advance. AIIMS, for now, is providing all the necessary treatments to patients in an emergency. It is also providing Chemotherapy to Cancer patients as and when required.

Court’s Decision

The Court directed the authorities to house the patients and their attendants. They also asked them to consider that some patients may need regular treatment at AIIMS.

The Court directed the concerned authorities to do two main things:

  1. To continue the arrangement of special food.
  2. To follow the orders passed by the SDM under the Disaster Management Act.

The Court disposed off the petition filed by Ms Malik. It has permitted her to remain associated with the other petition. The Court has listed the matter for further hearing on 22.05.2020.


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