HC orders inspection of night shelter at AIIMS after 22 persons tested COVID 19 positive

New Delhi, May 22 (PTI) The Delhi High Court Friday ordered immediate inspection of a night shelter, managed by Delhi Government's DUSIB, at AIIMS where 22 persons have tested positive for COVID 19 and directed the Delhi Chief Secretary to examine the situation and take corrective measures without any delay.

The high court also wondered when the night shelter run by DUSIB (Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board) was within the AIIMS premises, why they were shifted to far off hospitals like Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital and Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital run by the Delhi Government.

“Since, the two patients and others who were found positive on Covid testing - which are 22 in number, were all occupying the night shelter which falls within the AIIMS premises, we are at loss to understand as to why they were not taken to the AIIMS Covid facility and why they have been shifted to far off hospitals.

“On this aspect, we call upon the Principal Secretary, Health, Delhi government, the concerned Director of DUSIB, and the authorised officer of AIIMS to file their respective affidavits, explaining as to why the said persons were not accommodated at the Covid facility at AIIMS itself, particularly when the patients were, even otherwise, receiving non-Covid treatment at AIIMS itself,” a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rajnish Bhatnagar, which conducted the hearing through video conferencing, said.

The bench was informed by social worker Rachna Malik that there is no potable drinking water facility at the night shelter and the toilet facility at the night shelter is inadequate and highly filthy, and not properly maintained due to lack of sufficient water.

However, this was disputed by the DUSIB's counsel who said the toilets of the night shelter are separate and they are regularly maintained and whenever there is choking of the toilets, it is attended by the authorities.

Another aspect raised by Malik was that there was no monitoring of persons who visit the night shelter and a register should be maintained in this regard.

However, DUSIB's counsel said that the night shelter cannot be accessed by any outsider and there is monitoring of persons who come there and their particulars are maintained.

Keeping in view the different versions, the bench directed that a local inspection be conducted during the day itself without any delay and it should be videographed and statement of those occupying the night shelter be recorded.

“We direct that today's order be placed before the Chief Secretary, Delhi government, and after examining the report that may be prepared after today's visit, including the videograph, we direct him to examine the position with regard to the manner in which the night shelter at AIIMS is being managed by DUSIB, and to undertake all corrective measures, as are called for, without any delay,” the bench said.  The high court asked the Delhi Government, Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and social activist Rachna Malik to file status reports and listed the matter on May 27.

During the course of hearing, the high court was informed that two patients, who had been visiting Jan Kalyan Hospital at Karol Bagh for their treatment, that is, dialysis process, were found Covid positive. This followed testing of 51 occupants of the night shelter, even though the number of persons occupying the night shelter was 105 as on May 19 and 93 as on May 21.

The high court was hearing two petitions raising grievances of about hundred out-station patients and their attendants.

In the PIL filed by Karan Seth, he has sought to address the grievance of about hundred out-station patients and their attendants, who were earlier being provided treatment for several ailments at the AIIMS which allegedly stopped treating them after COVID-19 outbreak.

Another PIL was filed by Malik seeking direction that some arrangement should be made so that patients who are residing in rain baseras (night shelter) at AIIMS. These patients had come to AIIMS to receive treatment. PTI SKV HMP RKS RKS RKS