Delhi govt.’s plea in Supreme Court to vacate stay on reserving COVID beds

Delhi High Court had stalled order to 33 hospitals to set aside facilities.

The Delhi government on Friday appealed to the Supreme Court to lift a High Court stay of its direction to 33 hospitals to reserve 80% of their Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds to treat COVID-19 patients.

“As a result of this proactive intervention, almost 500 patients were able to secure admission in ICU beds of these private nursing homes and hospitals. The rate chargeable for these beds have also been capped by the government in the interest of the public,” the Delhi government petition, filed through advocate Chirag M. Shroff, contended in the Supreme Court.

The Health and Family Welfare Department of the Delhi government had, on September 12, ordered these choice hospitals reserve substantially more ICU/HDU beds for COVID patients owing to the rising graph of infections.

A single judge of the High Court however, on September 22 stayed the government order on a petition filed by Association of Healthcare Providers (India), which said the order would deprive non-COVID patients of urgent medical care.

A Division Bench of the High Court, instead of lifting the stay, merely adjourned the case to late November.

“The Division Bench has failed to take judicial notice of the COVID-19 pandemic and the steadily rising graph of infections. Delhi has always been the preferred location for seeking medical treatment by patients even from neighbouring and other States,” the government appeal said.

The government said the High Court failed to appreciate that the petition filed against the September 12 order was nothing but a cloaked attempt by certain hospital managements to guard their own financial interests.

The petition said out of the 33 hospitals listed, 28 were already functioning as “partial COVID hospitals”.

“Out of those 28 hospitals, 22 were allotted land by the government on concessional rates. Five out of 33 hospitals have already been operating as fully COVID hospital. Four out of five hospitals have also been allotted land at concessional rates,” the petition contended.


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