After being informed that 22 persons residing in the night shelters set up within the premises of All India Institute of Medical Sciences tested positive for COVID19, the Delhi High Court has directed for the immediate inspection of the facilities provided therein and the same shall also be videographed.
The said decision was taken by the Division Bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar after the Bench observed discrepancies between the state of affairs as described by the Petitioner and the government authority in their respective status reports.
The order has come in a PIL seeking proper and adequate facilities for patients residing in the night shelters within the premises of AIIMS.
The court directed that:
'Mr. Sharma, Director, DUSIB, should ensure that the representative of DUSIB is also present. Others concerned may join the proceeding. The inspection shall be conducted today at 12:30 P.M. itself.
No further notice shall be required to be given and the parties shall not wait for a copy of this order to proceed to carry out the inspection. The entire proceedings shall be video recorded by Mr. Malik. The video recording shall be made available to the other counsels. The statements of those who are occupying the night shelter shall also be recorded – to ascertain the correct factual position.'
Ms Rachna Malik, who was asked to assist the court in the present matter, complained about the inadequate water and sanitation facility in the night shelters.
Ms Malik also pointed out that there's a need to maintain a register in order to monitor the persons who come in these night shelters every day.
Mr Parvinder Chauhan, who appeared for the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board, countered all the observations of Ms Malik by submitting that the persons residing in the night shelters have their own kitchen and toilet and they do not use the facilities provided in Vishram Sadan.
Mr. Chauhan also submitted that there is already a mechanism to monitor the entry and exit of persons in these night shelters.
The court was also informed by Ms Malik that she had informed the caretaker of the night shelter about the patient who had tested positive for COVID19. However, the mother of that patient was still allowed to leave for her native place. Now even she has tested positive for COVID19.
In its status report, DUSIB informed the court that the patients who have been tested positive, have been shifted to two hospitals, namely Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital and Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital, both run by the GNCTD.
While criticising this move, the court observed that:
'Since, the aforesaid two patients and others who were found positive on Covid testing – which are 22 in number, were all occupying the night shelter which falls within the AIIMS premises, we are at loss to understand as to why they were not taken to the AIIMS Covid facility, and why they have been shifted to far off hospitals.'
In light of this concern, the court directed Principal Secretary (Heath) of Delhi Government, Director of DUSIB, and an authorised officer of AIIMS to submit affidavits explaining as to why the said persons were not accommodated at the Covid facility at AIIMS itself, particularly when the patients were, even otherwise, receiving non-Covid treatment at AIIMS itself.
The court further directed for this order to be placed before Chief Secretary of Delhi Government, who is directed to examine the position with regard to the manner in which the night shelter at AIIMS is being managed by DUSIB, and to undertake all corrective measures, as are called for, without any delay
The court will next take up the matter on May 17.
The Petitioner in the present case was represented by Senior Advocate Darpan Wadhwa, and Advocates Arjun Syal and Manjira Dasgupta.