The Delhi High Court dismissed a petition seeking directions to dissolve the Death Audit Committee. The Petitioner contests that the Data released by the Committee and the State has discrepancies.
Prayer by the Petitioner
The petitioner has made these following prayers-
a.) To direct the respondents to publish confirmed COVID-19 cases and the deaths through a daily bulletin every 24 hours.
b.) To direct the respondents to scrap the DAC constituted by the Delhi Government.
Arguments by the Parties
The learned counsel for the petitioner has referred to the number of deaths conveyed by a few hospitals. By comparison, the numbers reported by the government are lesser. The learned Standing Counsel appearing for the Government contradicted this averment. He submitted that this contention is baseless and not true.
He submitted the Central Government guidelines issued on March 15, 2020, and May 10, 2020. The government constituted a three-member Death Audit Committee (DAC) on April 20, 2020. That this committee audits and publishes the data in question.
The member of the Death Committee are as follows:
– Dr.Ashok Kumar, Ex. DGHS – Chairperson
– Dr.Vikas Dogra, RGSSH – Member
– Dr.R.N.Das, MS-Nursing Homes – Member
The counsel for the respondents stated the procedure for the data relating to COVID-19 deaths. Moreover, this has to be reported by all Central, State and Private run hospitals in Delhi in a tabular form. Further, on the basis of this data and the Guidelines issued by the Central Government, DAC publishes the figure of deaths occurred due to COVID-19. Thus, the DAC has followed the guidelines of the Central Government in full letter and spirit. Therefore, there is no arbitrariness or discrimination.
Observation of the Court
The main grievance of the petitioner is the publication of incorrect data. The Court observed that the basis of the petitioner’s whole case is on presumptions. The basis for the petition are odd newspaper reports. No research backs the filing of the petition.
The Court also stated that the data is being collected from the hospitals in a proper format. That it is under the guidelines issued by the Central Government. The Court noted that a DAC was constituted on April 20, 2020 and audits the data of COVID-19 from different hospitals in Delhi. It also opined that the members of the Committee are experts in their subject and field.
The Court held that there seems no arbitrariness or discrimination. Further, there is no material also to show false fabrication of data published by the Respondents.
The Court has directed the DAC and the State to do the following:
- Publish the data only after proper analysis.
- To maintain the data in the proper manner.
The bench of Chief Justice D.N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan stated that the petitioner may file a petition at a later stage with proper supporting material.
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