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Delhi HC seeks response from Centre on plea to safeguard children orphaned by Covid-19

The petition has been filed by Jeetender Gupta who is an Advocate-On-Record in the Supreme Court of India.

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The Delhi High Court on Monday has sought the response of the Centre, the Delhi Govt and the Delhi Police on a plea filed seeking directions to safeguard the interest of the children who have lost their parents to Covid-19 and who do not have any one else to take care of them and face the risk of being trafficked.

A bench led by the Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh has sought the response of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Women & Child Development, Health and Family Welfare, GNCTD & Delhi Police and list the matter for further hearing on June 4.

The petition has been filed by Jeetender Gupta, who is an Advocate-On-Record in the Supreme Court of India. He said he has observed complete collapse of health care infrastructure in the capital during the second wave of Covid-19 in India, starting from April 2021, due to gross negligence and failure on the part of the respondents i.e. Union of India as well as the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (“GNCTD”), which has resulted in untimely death of hundreds / thousands of citizens in NCT of Delhi who were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, more specifically during the period starting from 01.04.2021. Some of the families have lost their sole earning members. Many children who have lost their parents during Covid-19 are also facing a risk of being trafficked. The petitioner has also carried out further investigation based on media reports and various orders passed by this Court as well as the Supreme Court. The petitioner apart from information gathered in person did not have any further occasion to make any additional investigation.

The petitioner has submitted that the respondents have violated the Article 21 of the Constitution of India, by ignoring and compromising the safety and security of the general public. The gross negligence and failure on their part has resulted in the untimely death of hundreds / thousands of citizens in the NCT of Delhi, who were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, more specifically during the period starting from 01.04.2021.

It further avers that the Respondents have failed to comply with their statutory obligations under the Constitution of India, Disaster Management Act 2005 & other laws which has resulted in complete collapse of health care system in National Capital during the period starting from April 2021. The State has also failed to fulfill its various other statutory obligations under the Constitution i.e. Duty of the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health (Article 47); Public health and sanitation, Hospitals and dispensaries (Entry 6 of List II); Economic and Social Planning (Entry 20 of List III); Prevention of the extension from one State to another of infectious or contagious diseases or pests affecting men, animals or plants (Entry 29 of List III).

Therefore, in light of the aforesaid facts and circumstances and in the interest and premise of justice, he has most respectfully prayed for the following directions;

a. Issue a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ order or direction to the Respondents to safeguard the interest of the children who have lost their parents to Covid-19 and who do not have anyone else to take care of them and face the risk of being trafficked

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b. Issue a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ order or direction to the Respondents to grant appropriate financial compensation to the family members of those citizens who have lost their lives during Covid-19 pandemic after being denied access to adequate health care Infrastructure / Facilities in terms of hospital admission, oxygen cylinders, injections, medications etc.

c. Pass any other writ or directions as deemed fit in the circumstances of the case.

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