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The High Court of Delhi on Monday has issued notice on a plea filed by Ganga Ram Hospital seeking quashing of an FIR filed against it for allegedly violating COVID 19 norms.

A Single judge bench presided by Justice C Hari Shankar has directed the Government of Delhi to file its reply within a period of 4 weeks. The Court will hear arguments on the application to grant stay on investigation on Tuesday.

The petitioner has submitted that, “hospitals including the Petitioner Hospital are backbone of the healthcare system and are often referred to as the “front-line COVID warriors” in the face of Pandemic-COVID- 19. The illegal act of the Respondent in registering the impugn FIR tantamount to penalizing and threatening the Petitioner for the services rendered by’ it in these difficult times of COVID-19, apart  from causing a severe dent to the reputation built by the Petitioner as a premier medical facility by continuing to serve the society by saving million lives since 1954 when it was established in its present location from Lahore.”

The FIR has been filed by the Delhi Government’s Health Department against the medical superintendent of the hospital for not using the RT-PCR app for testing data in violation of the Epidemic Disease COVID 19 Regulation, 2020.  As per the guidelines, it is mandatory for labs to collect samples through RT-PCR app.

The FIR has been filed for offences under Section 188 of IPC i.e., disobedience to order promulgated by public Servant. The petitioner has submitted that the, “present FIR is liable to be quashed on the threshold having been lodged in complete violation of mandatory provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 relating to Section 188 IPC, for which filing of a “Complaint” under Section 195 Cr. P.C is sine qua non.”

The petitioner has further submitted that there is no allegation of knowing disobedience of the Orders passed by the ICMR or the Respondent with respect to transmitting of data of the patients whose samples were collected for COVID- 19 testing by the Petitioner. Moreover, the Respondent themselves accepted the data submitted by the Petitioner (not through RT PCR app) for the period starting from May 8 till June 3. It is only that the Petitioner has deviated in the mode and manner of transmitting the data for period after the transmission was made digital by way of RT PCR app.

Moreover the petitioner has submitted that the FIR fails even remotely to aver that the alleged non-compliance of the Order dated May 6 relating to transmitting data through RT PCR app by the Petitioner has caused or tends to cause danger to human life, health and safety.

-India Legal Bureau

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