Delhi High Court has rejected the plea seeking the scrapping of Delhi Government's Death Audit Committee which was set up to scrutinise the data pertaining to deaths caused by COVID19.
While holding that the present petition has been filed on the basis of presumption and without any proper research, the Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan noted that the members of the Committee are experts in their subject and field, and there seems to be no arbitrariness or discrimination being done nor is there are any material to show false fabrication of data in question being published.
The order has come in a PIL filed by All India Lawyer's Union seeking a direction to the Delhi Government to publish the data relating to confirmed cases of COVID-19 and deaths occurring on account of the same through a daily bulletin every 24 hours, based on the figures being provided to the Govt. of NCTD by the various hospitals, both public and private.
In addition to this, the Petitioner had asked for the scrapping of the Death Audit Committee constituted by the Delhi Government.
In support of its arguments, the Petitioner had referred to the number of deaths reported by the hospitals which were higher in number than those reported by the Delhi Government.
Calling these allegations baseless, Mr. Rahul Mehra, who was appearing for the Delhi Government submitted that data relating to COVID-19 deaths have to be reported by all Central Government-run hospitals, Delhi Government-run hospitals and Private Hospitals in Delhi in a tabular form. On the basis of this data and also looking at the Guidelines issued by the Central Government, Death Audit Committee is publishing the figure of deaths occurred due to COVID-19.
Mr. Mehra further contended that Death Audit Committee has been following the aforesaid guidelines of the Central Government in full letter and spirit and no arbitrariness or discrimination is being done by the respondents while publishing the data in question.
In light of these submissions, the court highlighted that the court cannot sit in appeal against the reports published by the Death Audit Committee from time to time.
The court, however, remarked the following on the functioning of the Death Audit Committee:
'We expect from the Death Audit Committee and the respondents that they will publish the data only after proper analysis of the data supplied by the Central Government run hospitals, State Government run hospitals and Private hospitals in Delhi. The data shall be maintained properly by the aforesaid Committee of experts and by the respondent/Government.'