Declaring hospital as COVID facility shall not postpone work of specialised facilities: HC

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New Delhi, Jul 14 (PTI) The Delhi High Court Wednesday said mere declaration of 1,241-bedded Indira Gandhi Hospital as a COVID-19 dedicated facility shall not postpone the development of specialised facilities as they will also be necessary for treatment of other ailments of patients during their stay. The high court refused to accept the submission of Delhi government that since the hospital has been designated as COVID hospital, the specialised facilities have not been planned to be started as of now and when the institution will be declared non-COVID facility, necessary arrangement will be considered to start the super speciality facility.

“We are not going to accept your stand that because you are going to develop it as a COVID facility you are not going to develop the specialised facilities,” a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh said.

The bench further said, “we are still apprehensive of the third wave. We do not know when it will come, how it will be, will it require hospitalisation…” In view of the court’s observations, senior advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for Delhi government, sought court’s permission to withdraw the concerned paragraph from the affidavit.

Advocate Y P Singh, representing petitioner Dwarka Court Bar Association, said despite clear direction of the court, the government has not come with clean hands and it was misleading the court.

The court directed the government to file a better affidavit indicating the timeline when the super speciality facilities will be set up.

“We are of the view that setting up of super speciality facility will not be at cross purposes with declaration of hospital as COVID dedicated. Even for the treatment of COVID patients, it is necessary that these facilities are set up,” the bench said.

The court noted that the government’s stand that it will be difficult to state a firm timeline for completion of phase 2 of the hospital project and asked the government to file an affidavit indicating the outer limit for completing it.

“We definitely want to know the outer timeline. We do not want to keep it open ended otherwise we know it will never be completed,” the bench said and listed the matter for further hearing on August 2.

The court was informed by the government that infrastructure in the hospital was complete but oxygen pipeline is yet to be installed so the institution will be made operational once this is done.

The high court had earlier directed the Principal Secretary (Home) of the Delhi government to monitor on weekly basis the progress made in the completion work of 1,241 bedded Indira Gandhi Hospital, which will be a COVID-19 dedicated hospital, and take appropriate disciplinary action against those found guilty of any lapse or negligence.

It had noted that the initial date of completion of the hospital project in Dwarka was February 2017 and thereafter, the bed capacity was increased from 700 to 1241 and the revised completion date was in September 2019 and it is yet to be completed. PTI SKV SKV RKS RKS

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