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Duty of Delhi government does not end by informing about beds in hospitals: SC takes Suo Motu cognizance of horrific scenes from LNJP Hospital

The SC took Suo Motu cognizance on June 12, 2020 {IN RE THE PROPER TREATMENT OF COVID 19 PATIENTS AND DIGNIFIED HANDLING OF DEAD BODIES IN THE HOSPITALS ETC.} and observed that the pathetic condition of the patients and improper care and treatment of the patients shown by the media has pained the Court. It was held that the State on whom the duty lies to take care of health of its citizens cannot abdicate its responsibility of ensuring that all hospitals including Government hospitals take care of the Covid-19 patients. It was also held that the duty of the State of NCT Delhi does not end in informing the people that it has arranged 5814 beds in Government hospitals and 9535 beds including private hospitals. It was held that the State and its officers are also duty bound to ensure that patients are taken care, attended, provided all medical facility, the hospitals have necessary infrastructure and staff.

It was observed by the Bench, comprising of Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul & Justice M.R. Shah, that the cognizance of suo motu writ petition has been taken on the basis of media reports and programmes aired in several channels presenting horrific scenes from LNJP hospital, which is a Covid dedicated hospital. It was observed that the India TV, in its programme on 10th June 2020, has shown certain videos which indicate the pathetic condition of the patients admitted in the hospital and the deplorable condition of the wards. It was also observed that the patients are in the wards and the dead bodies are also in the same wards. Further observed that dead bodies are seen also in the lobby and waiting area.

The SC observed that it does not understand why the tests have gone down in State of NCT Delhi. It was held that non-testing of the patients is not a solution to the problem rather increase in the testing facility is the duty of the State, so that people may come to know about their health status regarding Covid-19 and they may take appropriate care and treatment of Covid-19.

The SC impressed upon the States to ensure that there should be steep increase in the testing both by Government hospitals and private labs and whosoever desires for testing should not be denied on any technical ground or any other ground.

The SC directed that notice be issued today itself by the Registry to State/ UT(s). The SC directed that the matter to be listed on 17.06.2020 for further consideration. It was directed that affidavit be also filed by the Director of Medical Superintendent of LNJP hospital, referring to reports in media showing deplorable state of affairs in the hospital, and the matter was adjourned by the SC for the said date.

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