The Delhi High Court bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli on Wednesday made it clear that the Covid aid that has come in from private parties and from abroad should be distributed on time and judiciously. The bench also asked for a compliance report from the Centre on May 22.
The bench also clearly said that if some aid – including oxygen concentrators – is meant for the Delhi government, then the Delhi government should have the right to decide where those facilities should be installed, not the Centre.
Amicus Rajshekhar Rao said: “There is probably not much compliance on the compressors (which include concentrators).”
Rahul Mehra (Sr Advocate and Delhi govt counsel): “As soon as we receive the compressors, we’ll install.”
Justice Sanghi: “The Amicus has placed before this court a report regarding compliance. We direct the Union of India that the said supply should be made on time. The status with regard to the said supply and installation should be reported (to the court) on May 22.”
Mehra: “I just want to flag it and leave it that. The Covid beds are not being provided. These facilities (aid, including compressors) are being installed in hospitals that have 10% or 20% Covid facilities.”
Justice Sanghi: “Mr Sharma (ASG Chetan Sharma), please look into this.”
Sharma: “This is absolutely vague. There is a mechanism, there are threshold SOPs about the aid that comes. But this has come from your Lordships, I’ll definitely visit it again.”
Rao: “Milords, this is Covid aid, and this should reach the hospitals that have a majority of Covid patients. There is clearly a gap. There should be some application of mind as to where this aid should go.”
Sharma said that the oversight committee was looking into this.
Justice Palli: “If you are giving it to the Delhi govt then give them the right to decide where they want to use it.”
Justice Sanghi: “The aid should go to where it is most exploited and is needed the most.”
Justice Sanghi asked advocate Amit Mahajan to make a chart detailing what aid is being given to Delhi. “That will make it clear,” said the court.
Rao: “Documents show that the aid is going to institutions in Delhi but not to the Delhi government.”
Mehra: “Milords, if the Centre may be asked to submit before you what is being sent to other states as well.”
The bench did not agree to that suggestion. Justice Sanghi said: “We are not going to get into that exercise. Mr Mehra at least the services are being given to Delhi.”
Mehra: “Milords If the situation is such then there would have been any problem.”
Amicus Rao: “Central government hospitals are not complying with the direction of your Lordships regarding the data.
Justice Sanghi: “Have you received it from all other hospitals?”
Rao: “No, we have received for 80 hospitals.”
Justice Sanghi: “Mr Mehra, you can direct the hospitals to submit the data.”
Mehra: “We are following up and will ask them to deliver.”
Then came the issue of no telephone response for website inquiries.
Rao: “Over the issue of availability of beds shown on the website, nobody is responding on phones.”
Justice Sanghi: “You have manned your volunteers on this.”
Rao: “They are on it, but if the hospitals are unable to respond they may be asked to take off their names from the hospitals because they are of no use then. A simple direction for those hospitals (is needed), because otherwise it is absolutely pointless. Nobody is answering the phones.”
Justice Palli: “You ask them to do it, otherwise the Delhi government can do it. They’ll do it in one or two days.”