The Bombay High Court last Friday observed that every possible option ought to be explored by the State Government and the Municipal Corporation to ensure that people's suffering caused due to the pandemic of Covid-19 is minimized.
Division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice AA Sayed via video conferencing was hearing the PILs alleging that non-covid patients are being denied admission in private as well as government run hospitals leading to a rise in death toll in several such cases.
The petitioners contend that in many cases, families of elderly Covid affected patients have been forced to wait day and night for hours just for a routine medical examination.
Moreover, in the absence of requisite medical facilities made available for non-Covid patients, many of them have been unnecessarily suffering and even succumbed to their respective ailment/disease without proper treatment. All the major hospitals and nursing homes in the city of Mumbai have closed down due to the spread of Covid-19; and that the State and the Corporation have, despite genuine efforts, failed to ensure adequate medical facilities for treatment of patients suffering from ailments other than Covid-19, the petitioners argue.
Senior Counsel AY Sakhare appeared for MCGM, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh for the Union of India, Government Pleader PH Kantharia for the State, Advocate Amit Karkhanis, for some of the private institutions impleaded as respondents and Advocates Ankit Kulkarni, Gaurav Shrivastava for the petitioners.
Court had sought a reply from the state and MCGM last month.
MCGM's counsel Senior Advocate AY Sakhare vehemently opposed the allegations made in the said PILs. He argued that sufficient arrangements have been made for treatment of non-Covid patients.
"In course of hearing, we have been apprised that the petitioners as well as the private institutions have valuable suggestions to offer which, if accepted and implemented by the Corporation and the State, would go a long way to ensure better health conditions for Covid as well as non-Covid patients.
Having regard to the havoc wreaked by Covid and in the absence of any therapeutic cure of the disease, every possible option ought to be explored so that the suffering of the people at large can be minimized to the extent possible. If indeed what the petitioners and the private institutions suggest are of any help or assistance to mankind, we see no reason as to why the State and the Corporation may not consider the same in its true perspective."
The bench noted that despite the initial opposition, Sakhare said that if at all the petitioners' suggestions are of any worth, the Corporation will look into the same.
Thus, the Court asked the private institutions to make a single set of compilation of all their suggestions by Sunday and to forward the same to the lawyers for the State as well as the Corporation for proper consideration.
Finally, the bench concluded-
"We make it clear that the suggestions shall be realistic so that they can be implemented and it shall also be ensured that the same are consistent with the extant medical protocol.
We hope and trust that the suggestions, if made, shall receive the care and attention the same deserve at the hands of the State and the Corporation and a report shall be filed on their behalf indicating therein the steps that are proposed to be taken, if at all, by May 22, 2020 when this batch of PIL Petitions may be considered next."
This order will be digitally signed by the Sr. Private Secretary of this Court. All concerned will act on production by fax or e-mail of a digitally signed copy of this order
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