On Friday, Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board informed the Delhi High Court that norms of social distancing are not being maintained at night shelters outside AIIMS.
These night shelters are set up for persons who come from different regions to seek free treatment at AIIMS.
The information was provided to the Division Bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar in a plea seeking adequate treatment of underprivileged persons who are suffering from non-COVID chronic diseases such as cancer, TB, in government hospitals.
Mr Parvinder Chauhan, who appeared for DUSIB, also submitted that it is necessary to shift around 100 residents of these night shelters to other shelter homes in the city.
Senior Advocate Darpan Wadhwa, who appeared for the Petitioner, informed the court that 74 were shifted to Gargi school facility while 76 are still in night shelter.
The rest of the persons are still living in night shelters outside AIIMS with an inability to maintain social distancing norms.
Mr Wadhwa also pointed out that these persons are not able to arrange private transport in these times, and also on account of their financial position that they find it difficult to travel to AIIMS to receive treatment.
It was further submitted by Mr Wadhwa that some of the patients at Gargi School and the rain baseras/ night shelters require semi-solid or liquid diet on account of their medical condition. Therefore, though the food is being provided by the Delhi Government, the same does not meet the needs of some of such patients.
Appearing for the Delhi Government, Mr Rahul Mehra submitted that out of 37 hospitals administered by the GNCTD, only 2 have been converted into exclusive COVID-19 facilities, and the remaining 35 hospitals continue to provide treatment to non- COVID-19 patients irrespective of their place of residence.
Mr Mehra further submitted that he shall instruct District Magistrate-South to have a consultation with some other shelter home where some of these persons residing in night shelters can be shifted to.
In light of these submissions, the court directed Mr Anand Varma, who was appearing for AIIMS, to seek instructions on whether these inmates of the night shelter, or some of them, can be accommodated within the Vishram Sadan of AIIMS, considering the fact that these patients are receiving treatment at AIIMS, and it would be more convenient if they are accommodated therein
The court also directed District Magistrate South to make transportation facility available to the inmates at Gargi School for them to be able to travel to AIIMS whenever required for the purpose of receiving treatment.
The DM-South is further directed to to look into the aspect of dietary needs of patients and whichever patients at Gargi School or rain basera/ night shelter require special diet as semi-solid or liquid, they should be so provided.
The present PIL was filed by Karan Sethi to address the grievance of about hundred out station patients and their attendants, who, it is stated, were earlier being provided treatment at AIIMS. However, since AIIMS was declared a facility for COVID19 patients, these patients who were given free treatment at AIIMS are now rendered helpless.
Therefore, the Petitioner wants free treatment for these non-COVID patients either in AIIMS or in any other government hospital.
The Petitioner also highlighted the plight of these patients who are living in Rain Baseras opposite AIIMS. It is submitted that these patients have low immunity as they're suffering from chronic diseases such as cancer, which makes them vulnerable to COVID19 if they continue to live in such conditions.
The petitioner was represented by Senior Advocate Darpan Wadhwa, along with Advocates Arjun Syal, Manjira Dasgupta.
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