The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Governments of NCT of Delhi, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu over management of COVID-19 situation.
The bench observed that media reports "indicated a sorry state of affairs of care of Covid patients in Delhi and some other states".
The Court directed that the Chief Secretaries of these states should take immediate note of state of patient care in government hospitals and formulate a detailed status report in this regard.
The Court has also directed the Central Government to submit its response in the matter. The case will be next taken on June 17.
A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, S K Kaul and MR Shah passed the direction in a suo moto case registered as "In Re Proper Treatment Of COVID-19 Patients And Dignified Handling Of Dead Bodies In The Hospitals, Etc.".
The top court has also issued notice to Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital, New Delhi, from where shocking visuals of mishandling of dead bodies of COVID-19 patients emerged.
COVID-19 testing in Delhi drastically reduced.
The bench expressed concerns at the reduction of COVID-19 testing rates in Delhi.
"The testing of COVID-19 patients (in Delhi) has also gone down as compared to month of May 2020. The number of COVID19 positive patients are increasing and testing is going down. We call upon the state to increase the number of testing and those who require it should not be denied it", the bench ordered.
"The reports indicate that patients who are suffering from Covid are running pillar to post to get admission in hospital whereas various beds in govenment hospitals are laying vacant. The media has shown pathetic condition of patients in Delhi", the bench noted in the order.
Horrific scenes of mishandling of dead bodies
The bench also referred to "horrific scenes" of mishandling of dead bodies.
"India TV on June 19 highlighted a report on a video where patients have been in pathetic conditions. Dead bodies in the lobby, waiting area, wards...This is the state of a Govt hospital..", the bench observed.
"Although there are guidelines in force for handling of dead bodies in the nature of directives issued on dated March 15, we notice that there is no proper adherence to guidelines. Patients relatives are not even informed, as reported by media, after the death of patients", the Court said.
"Please see the deplorable conditions of people in hospitals, dead bodies are lying the ward, dead bodies are found in the garbage! Media has highlighted these deplorable conditions. Worse than animals people are being treated", the bench orally remarked during the hearing.
[Update : When the story was first published after the Court hearing, Gujarat was not mentioned. It was only after the publication of the order copy that it was known that Court has issued notice to State of Gujarat as well. Story has been accordingly modified]
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