27 Apr 2021: Coronavirus: You're passing orders without knowing ground-realities, HC tells AAP
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday told the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led state government that it can't be unreasonable in the fight against coronavirus while hearing a plea of a hospital in connection with an order passed on April 25.
A division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli commented that it seems the government was passing orders without knowing ground realities.
Order: Delhi government put hospitals on a deadline
Last week, the Delhi government had issued orders directing hospitals to provide oxygen and medicines 10-15 minutes after a patient reaches the emergency.
Raising objection to this, the counsel for Maharaja Agrasen Hospital, Alok Kr Aggarwal said that the facility is already running low on supplies.
He said the hospital can't remove oxygen from any critically ill patients as it could kill them.
Fact: Can't kill a person because of government order, argued lawyer
"I cannot have a situation where I have to remove a patient's mask, who's at a level of 55-54 saying 'I will discharge you right now.' I cannot kill a person just because there is a government order saying I have to admit another person," Aggarwal added.
Appeal: Aggarwal wants Delhi government to issue clarification
Aggarwal underlined that the government has to clarify the order for hospitals.
"If we are completely full with ICU beds where are these people who we cannot admit because of our own difficulties, go? They cannot stay in emergency areas," he asserted.
These arguments evidently struck a chord with the bench, which stated that the government doesn't seem to know about hospitals' problems.
Fact: 'Why do you come up with these orders?'
"You do not know how hospitals are coping up with the situation. What is the inflow of people, shortage of oxygen and medicine, doctors and paramedics. Why do you come up with these orders? We do not understand," the court said.
Proceedings: HC noted that hospitals are doing the best they can
The bench said that it would have understood the directive had the Delhi government conducted an inspection of a particular hospital or nursing home and found discrepancies.
"So far, as possible they (hospitals) are doing. You think you have discharged duty by issuing this kind of order and the public will be happy that the government has issued this kind of order," HC said.
Fact: Court dubbed order a paper exercise
"Let us tell you this is nothing but a paper exercise. You are just satisfying your own conscience probably. You cannot fight this war by being unreasonable sitting at your offices by issuing these kinds of orders," the bench noted.
Response: Government's counsel said medical oxygen shortage is the main problem
Defending the AAP-led government, advocate Satyakam informed the bench that if Delhi had sufficient medical oxygen, this problem wouldn't have risen.
The HC directed him to respond after taking instructions from the government.
"We have a lot of issues I agree. We will resolve them. We will need to look at it holistically," Satyakam submitted in the court.
Numbers: Delhi logged highest-ever 380 deaths on Monday
Meanwhile, the National Capital, like the rest of India, is struggling to stem the spread of coronavirus. On Monday, Delhi reported 20,201 fresh COVID-19 cases. As many as 380 deaths were reported in 24 hours, the biggest spike ever.
Alarmingly, the positivity rate climbed to 35%, implying that one in every three persons being tested for the infection is turning out to be positive.