HC adjourns to July 29 hearing on contempt plea over bodies at LNJP Hospital's COVID ward

New Delhi [India], June 29 (ANI): Delhi High Court on Monday adjourned to July 29 the hearing on a contempt plea against Delhi government over purported videos showing bodies in the COVID-19 ward of the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) Hospital.

A division bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice Parteek Jalan adjourned the matter in view of the fact that a similar matter is pending before the Supreme Court for July 20.

The court also adjourned two other similar matters for the same date (July 29), including a public interest litigation (PIL) for the cremation of COVID-19 victims in "green crematoriums".

The contempt petition was moved by advocate Awadh Kaushik against Delhi government, its Chief Secretary, Health Secretary, and the Medical Director of LNJP Hospital over news videos showing bodies in the COVID-19 ward of the hospital.

It alleged that dead bodies are lying in the same wards and corridors of the LNJP Hospital in Delhi, where COVID-19 patients are admitted.

Additional solicitor general Sanjay Jain, appearing for Delhi government said, this is very unfortunate that the petition wants contempt against us despite the fact that more than 80,000 cases are there including doctors and other health staff.

The contempt plea said that these officials have breached their own undertaking regarding bodies of COVID-19 patients since they have repeatedly assured the court that no bodies are lying in the ward and corridors of the hospital.

However, the videos shown by the media are horrible, it said.

The plea sought directions to the respondents to appear in person before the court and explain their conduct for committing contempt of court by not complying with their own undertakings and not complying with the directions passed by the court from time to time.

It also sought directions to constitute a committee of experts including doctors and advocates or any authority as deemed fit, to conduct an inspection of the LNJP Hospital to assess the situation and submit a report to the court.

Delhi High Court had recently taken suo motu cognizance of the dilapidated state of the crematoriums as well as the piling up of the bodies at the LNJP hospital, the plea said.

The Delhi government had given an assurance that this was only a one-time situation and all steps were being taken by them to ensure the timely disposal of the bodies and their cremation, it added.

However, the contempt petition filed against the Delhi government cited "recent news reports" showing the videos of bodies or unconscious patients lying on the floor of the wards and some even beneath the beds of the COVID-19 patients under treatment. (ANI)