Delhi High Court refuses notice on prayer in plea for enquiring into deaths in Govt hospitals during Covid-19

  • Gargi Chatterjee
  • 03:25 PM, 24 Nov 2021

The Delhi High Court bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh today issued notice in a petition seeking appointment of adequate number of doctors including paramedical staffs in government run hospitals, even as it refused to issue notice on a prayer in the same plea to enquire into the deaths during the outbreak of Covid-19 in government-run hospitals across Delhi. 

The petition filed by Dr. Nand Kishore Garg had sought for the setting up of a broad-based Commission consisting of a retired Justice along with a team of senior doctors, for this purpose.

Garg has further prayed for immediate appointment of an adequate number of doctors including paramedical staffs in government-run hospitals and for strengthening of the recruitment process of doctors by replacing existing bureaucratic and time-consuming processes so that the vacancies of doctors and paramedical staffs may be filled up immediately after the post gets vacant.

The petitioner has prayed for the above based on the following grounds:

- That the infrastructure at the government hospitals is violative of fundamental rights of citizens under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.

- That the Government hospitals do not have adequate number of doctors and paramedical staff to cater to the requirement of citizens of the state.

- That the doctors of government hospitals are referring the patients to private hospitals for prompt treatment, thus promoting private hospitals on account of poor infrastructure of the government hospitals.

The plea states:

"Government run hospitals are unable to treat the patients on time and in such circumstances, the patients either become critical or get inevitable fate of beyond cure… thousands of patients are being denied admission in the government run hospitals on account of lack of infrastructures and acute shortages of manpower and those patients are forced to create a debt or sell their assets to access healthcare from private hospitals by paying exorbitant cost of the treatment."

It has also relied on RTI replies which stated that 1838 doctors have been working in the health and welfare department of Delhi while 745 post of doctors were laying vacant and there were large number of vacancies of doctors laying vacant as per the RTI reply.

“As such, the government of NCT of Delhi has failed to live up to the constitutional guarantee to its citizen by protecting and safeguarding the common citizen,” the plea has said 

During the hearing, CGSC Anil Soni opposed this prayer, stating the recruitment process pertains to a service matter and involves a policy decision.

The matter will now be heard on January 12, 2022.

Cause Title: Dr. Nand Kishore Garg v. GNCTD & Ors.