New Delhi: Another Centre vs State row brewed in Delhi on Monday after Lt Governor Anil Baijal overruled two controversial orders of the Arvind Kejriwal government on reserving Delhi government-run and private hospitals in the national capital for Delhiites and allowing Covid-19 test for only symptomatic patients.
The ruling Aam Aadmi Party reacted sharply to the L-G's move, alleging that he had been pressured by the BJP which is doing "dirty politics" on the issue.
All government, private hospitals and nursing homes and clinics situated in the national capital of Delhi have to extend medical facilities to all Covid-19 patients coming for monitoring and treatment without any discrimination of being resident or non-resident of Delhi, the L-G said in his order.
The development came a day after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced that hospitals run by the Delhi government and private entities will only treat Delhiites during the coronavirus crisis due to the likely rise in cases in the national capital in the coming days.
Baijal, who issued the orders in his capacity as the Chairman of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority, made it clear that the Supreme Court has invariably held in several successive judgements that 'Right to Health' is an integral part of 'Right to Life' under Article 21 of the Constitution.
"In exercise of powers conferred under Section 18(3) of the Disaster Management Act, the undersigned in his capacity as the Chairperson of the DDMA, hereby directs all departments and authorities concerned of NCT of Delhi, to ensure that monitoring / treatment is not denied to any patient on the ground of not being a resident of NCT of Delhi," the order said.
The L-G also overruled the city government's order for coronavirus testing only for symptomatic patients, saying it deviated from the guidelines set by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
He said this deviation from the ICMR guidelines can result in inadequate contact tracing of affected individuals and can result in further spread of Covid-19 in the national capital.
Baijal said all nine categories people, including asymptomatic, as prescribed by the ICMR should be examined in the national capital.
Referring to the AAP government earlier order, Baijal said it had issued an order dated June 6 which changed from the one prescribed by the ICMR.
"Now, therefore, in exercise of powers conferred under Section 18(3) read with Section 18(2)(d) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the undersigned hereby directs all departments and authorities concerned of NCT of Delhi, to ensure that ICMR strategy for COVID-19 testing in India issued on May 18 is strictly observed in NCT of Delhi without any deviation," he said.
Kejriwal on Monday said the L-G's order on hospitals has created major problem and challenge for Delhiites.
Taking to Twitter, the chief minister said that providing treatment to people coming from all the over country is a big challenge during Covid-19 pandemic.
The Delhi government will try to make arrangements to provide treatment to all those coming from outside the national capital, said Kejriwal, who has gone into self-quarantine after developing sore throat and fever, and will get himself tested for Covid-19 on Tuesday.
His deputy Manish Sisodia lashed out at the BJP, alleging the BJP has pressured the L-G into releasing this order to revoke the AAP government's decision.
"The BJP should be thinking about the welfare of the people. The BJP should take back the decision, we need wise-management not political management. Support the decisions of the state government," he said.
On Sunday, Kejriwal had justified the decision on hospitals citing the report of a panel which stated that Delhi will need 15,000 beds by the end of June and if people of other states are allowed to get treatment, all beds here will be occupied within just three days.
The panel had been appointed by the Delhi government to guide it on healthcare infrastructure augmentation and overall preparedness of hospitals to battle Covid-19 in the national capital.
The Delhi government had on Wednesday issued testing guidelines making it mandatory only for symptomatic patients to be tested for Covid-19.
Till Wednesday, Delhi and other states have followed the ICMR guidelines which allow asymptomatic direct contacts of Covid-19 patients to be tested.