New Delhi (ILNS): The Supreme Court today has refused to stay the Delhi High Court order staying Delhi Govt decision to reserve 80% ICU beds in private hospitals for COVID19 patients while directing Delhi High Court to hear the matter day after tomorrow.
A two-judge vacation bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan was hearing a petition from the AAP government of Delhi NCT, seeking to set aside the Delhi High Court order staying its move to reserve 80% of ICU beds in private hospitals for COVID19 patients.
The bench today ordered that the matter be listed before the concerned bench in the Delhi High Court the day after tomorrow. The bench also said that this order be placed in court to direct the listing of the matter day after tomorrow. “It shall be open for parties to submit such pleading before LPA court as may be advised.”
The Delhi govt has stated that high court failed to consider that it only directed 33 private nursing homes and hospitals (out of a total of almost 1170 private nursing homes and hospitals across NCT of Delhi) to reserve 80% of their ICU beds for COVID-19 patients
The plea also points out that courts cannot interfere with policy decisions of the State, especially when the policy decision is taken in public interest.
Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain appeared for Delhi government and said:
“This is not an adversarial litigation. We want to continue with the 80 percent reservation after reviewing the situation and discontinuation after a few weeks.”
Justice Ashok Bhushan said: “See the LPA order. It was on the request of the appellant that the hearing was adjourned to November 27.”
Said Jain: “The counsel engaged to argue that day was not fit to argue the case (he is diabetic) and hence an adjournment was sought. But it cannot be November 27.
The bench said:
“Why did not you make an appeal to bring forward the hearing? You could have said there was urgency. Pray for fixing an early date and let them consider your grievances.”
Jain said: “Only one request, in the last few days the cases of COVID19 have crossed 7,000 per day.”
The bench said: “It was 1,000 also and it’s in a fluctuating state.”
Justice Gavai said: “You have not stated any material on record to show that no beds are available to COVID-19 patients.”
Jain said: “A lot of people come from outside the state and get treated in private hospitals and use ICU beds. The expert committee suggested that Delhi needs 6,000 ICU beds and we have 3,500 beds. If we had the notification going in then we could have had 300 to 500 more beds.
“Out of 133 hospitals, only 33 hospitals have been reserved,” he added.
Justice Gavai said: “Inform this to Delhi High Court.”
Jain said: “The operation of the impugned judgments needs to be stayed for this week and this is crucial. Cases will rise beyond our control. Consider my predicament. Please ask the division bench (of the Delhi High Court) to consider my matter tomorrow.”
Advocate Maninder Singh said: “I am suggesting that since the matter is on video, instead of asking single bench, ask the division bench to consider on November 18.”
Jain said: “Once the damage is done then what is the use? Please consider.”
Justice Bhushan said: “We will ask the LPA court to consider the matter day after tomorrow.”
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The order said:
“This SLP has been filed against the Delhi High Court order which listed the matter next on November 27. ASG Jain says it needs to be heard urgently and situation in Delhi is worsening. Maninder Singh has stated he has no issues with the date when it is listed in LPA court.”
Hence, the timing of the hearing at the high court was ordered.