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Delhi HC Takes Suo Moto Cognizance Of Video About Failure Of COVID-19 Helplines; Issues Directions To Centre, Dehli Govt [Read Order]

Karan Tripathi
27 May 2020 4:17 AM GMT
Delhi HC Takes Suo Moto Cognizance Of Video About Failure Of COVID-19 Helplines; Issues Directions To Centre, Dehli Govt [Read Order]
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After taking suo moto cognisance of the grievances faced by a citizen whose mother is COVID19 positive, the Delhi High Court has directed both the Centre as well as the Delhi Government to place on record the the status of arrangements and helplines put in place to deal with serious COVID19 patients who need hospitalisation.

The Division Bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar has further directed both the governments to assess the adequacy of the helpline capacity and state whether the same is sufficient to deal with the present call traffic and the traffic expected in the foreseeable future, keeping in view the continuous rise in the number of cases being reported each day.

The court said:

'the helpline numbers of the GNCTD should also provide guidance and information to the caller as to which hospital has beds available for treatment of serious COVID-19 patients – both in Government and Private Hospitals, particularly in the proximity of the caller patient's location. The capacity created to deal with calls made on the helpline numbers; the nature of assistance rendered, and; the log maintained for the same, if any, should also be placed before the Court.'

The order has come in a suo moto cognizance of problems faced by a person named Dharmendra Bharadwaj in getting his COVID19 positive mother hospitalized.

Mr Bharadwaj informed the court that the Deputy Medical Superintendent of Max Hospital Patparganj, had called him and spoke to him on the intercom, and asked him to arrange a ventilator and hospital bed for his mother in some other hospital.

Mr Bharadwaj claims that he visited several hospitals, but to no avail. Importantly, he claims that he called the Helpline No.1075 on several occasions with no response.

He expressed his anguish and helplessness by stating that the tall claims made by the Govt. of NCT of Delhi (GNCTD) and the Central Government with regard to adequate arrangements being in place - to deal with patients of Covid-19 who require hospitalization and treatment, are far from true on the ground.

Appearing for the Delhi Government, Mr Rahul Mehra informed the court that the helpline numbers of Delhi Government were found not to be functioning efficiently and instructions have been issued to set the system in order.

Mr Mehra further submitted that a mobile application is under development, which would give live updates of the hospital beds available in Delhi Government Hospitals and Private Hospitals, and other related information. The same would be launched in a couple of days.

While issuing notices to both the Centre and the Delhi Government to submit status reports, the court also asked the Delhi Government to consider providing ambulance facility for pickup of COVID-19 serious patients for hospitalization, once a caller reports a serious COVID-19 case – which appears to require hospitalization looking at the condition reported.

In pursuance of the matter, the court has also appointed Mr Om Prakash, Advocate, as the Amicus Curiae to assist the Court.

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