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"Problem Is In Delhi As Both Centre & State Think It Is Theirs": Delhi High Court On Covid-19 Management In Capital

Srishti Ojha
12 May 2021 4:09 PM GMT
Problem Is In Delhi As Both Centre & State Think It Is Theirs: Delhi High Court On Covid-19 Management In Capital
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Hearing a batch of pleas on various aspects of the management of the Covid-19 pandemic in the national capital, the Delhi High Court which has been hearing the pleas for nearly 3 weeks now, today remarked, "The problem is in Delhi because both Centre and State think Delhi is theirs."To this, Sr. Adv. Rahul Mehra, responded stating that the Centre should not just think but also "act like Delhi...

Hearing a batch of pleas on various aspects of the management of the Covid-19 pandemic in the national capital, the Delhi High Court which has been hearing the pleas for nearly 3 weeks now, today remarked, "The problem is in Delhi because both Centre and State think Delhi is theirs."

To this, Sr. Adv. Rahul Mehra, responded stating that the Centre should not just think but also "act like Delhi is theirs," and further alleged that Delhi has seen oversight by the Centre in Covid-19 matters from day 1, even as the court repeated that they should not stoop to the level of "squabbling". The centre responded by saying that these were allegations leveled on a "daily basis" that would serve to "lower the level of the court" unless checked.
The court was on the issue of discrimination alleged by Delhi government in terms of distribution of medical equipments that have been received by India from foreign nations to specific hospitals only. Mehra appearing for Delhi said, "I'd like to flag one thing... Union of India is giving infrastructure to hospitals not available to Delhi citizens. They could have given to private hospitals, we aren't saying give to Delhi government hospitals."
Mehra emphasized that the amicus curiae Sr. Adv. Rajshekhar Rao had also stated that infrastructure was only given by the Centre to these select hospitals, which infact have very little capacity.
Delhi government further alleged that though it had started writing to the Centre on May 4 itself, and multiple times thereafter, the Centre had not changed its decision.
Upon the submission the court directed Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma appearing for the Centre to look into the issue, upon which he replied that Delhi's allegations were vague and it needed to be shown how discrimination is being made.
Rao interjected to explain at this point, "Discrimination would be an inappropriate term. What we were saying is if someone is applying their mind to ensure that aid is going to places that need it, rather than those that already have it."
Taking note of the allegations, and facts, the bench observed, "On one hand many central hospitals haven't given beds for Covid. We aren't saying that you give it, because non-Covid hospitals are also required."
It however directed the Centre to look into the issue, warning that the Centre should not just give Delhi N-95 masks in terms of Covid-19 aid, and that while it would pass an order on the matter, the Centre should try to remedy the situation before that.
The bench has further directed the centre to "make a compilation with details as to what aid was received and was was given to Delhi and to which hospitals."

Edited by Shreya Agarwal 

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