Delhi High Court slams JNU for not setting up Covid-19 care facility

  • 02:02 PM, 14 Jan 2022

The Delhi High Court on Thursday pulled up the administration of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) for its failure in setting up Covid-19 care facilities, Covid-19 response team and oxygen facilities in the university campus.

A single-judge bench of Justice Rekha Palli said that it had directed the University to set up and arrange doctors while raising the question to the administration that why this has not been done yet.

Justice Palli also asked the counsel to explain why he appeared before the bench without instructions when the order has been passed on May 13, 2021.

The counsel appearing for the Delhi Government submitted that the Covid-19 facility has been set up and we are waiting for the doctors and paramedical staff, whereas, several doctors are Covid-19 positive.

Earlier, the petitioners had submitted that they contacted the SDM for setting up an isolation and quarantine facilities by writing letters to the authorities. They also requested the faculty of the Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health to draw plans for Covid-19 care, submit a proper proposal in this respect and also emphasised on a plan devised by the School of Life Sciences, JNU for producing oxygen within the campus.

However, the authorities did not respond to them despite repeated requests.

Background

Taking note of the manner in which various organisations and institutions have gone out of their way, during the current pandemic, to make various facilities available to their employees and other stakeholders, in order to safeguard their health during the current surge of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Court observed that JNU could not be an exception in this regard. 

Thereafter the Bench issued the following directions:

i) The Registrar, JNU to immediately give instructions to the counsel, and file a status report, as to what are the steps taken by the administration of the JNU in respect of the requests made and letters written by the petitioners to the administration, for dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic situation in the JNU campus since 2020 and especially since April 13, 2021.

ii) The Vice Chancellor/Registrar of JNU to ascertain the necessity and feasibility in respect of creation of the Covid-19 care facility in the JNU campus and file a status report thereof. The report shall also take into consideration the proposals given by the Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health (CSMCH) as also the proposal for in-house production of oxygen, given by the School of Life Sciences. The authorities in JNU to consider if there is any modification required to the said proposals as has been suggested by the students and teachers associations. The modalities for creation of COVID care facility shall be mentioned in the report.

(iii) The SDM/ADM of the concerned area to also place on record a status report, as to whether such a Covid-19 care facility can be created at JNU, in accordance with the guidelines applicable, and if so indicating the manner in which the doctors and paramedics, as also nurses, would be made available for the said facility, and whether they would be tied up with any particular hospital, and if so, name the said hospital after obtaining its concurrence. 

The Court had also directed the Registrar of the University, to convene a meeting at 5 PM on May 11, 2021, to be chaired by the Vice Chancellor along with the other internal administrative staff as also the concerned SDM/ADM of the area, to work out the formalities and the protocols, in this respect. Further directions were issued to also convene a second meeting chaired by the Vice Chancellor, other administrative staff, SDM/ADM concerned along with six representatives of the Students and the Teachers Union, as also the departments which have given the proposals, at 11 AM on May 12, 2021, to discuss the said proposals/ letters for setting up of a Covid-19 care facility in the JNU campus.

Cause Title: JNU Teachers Association through Moushumi Basu & Ors vs JNU through Vice Chancellor & Ors| WP(C) 5263/2021