The Delhi High Court on Friday adjourned a plea seeking directions to the Jawaharlal Nehru University for setting up Covid Care Facilities, a Covid-19 response team and certain oxygen facilities inside the university campus to October 27.
A single-judge bench of Justice Rekha Palli adjourned the plea as the advocate appearing for JNU was not present in court.
Advocate Abhik Chimni, appearing for the petitioners, submitted that even though the respondents have identified the building for Covid Care Centre, no action has been taken to make the Covid Care Centre operational. Furthermore, he submitted, since the order dated May 28, 2021, by which the court had directed to make Covid Care Centre operational, 3 residents of JNU campus have been infected with Covid-19 and have not been able to avail the facilities of Covid Care Centre.
Chimni further submitted, in the view of low positivity rate of Covid-19, the Delhi Government has filed an affidavit stating that in the interim period, JNU should run a Covid Care Centre as they already have a health centre and doctors on rolls, however, JNU in its affidavit has refused to do so.
Chimni proposed the formation of a committee with the petitioners and JNU, who, if the cases of Covid-19 go up, can work towards the implementation of Order dated May 28, 2021.
SDM had approved building chosen for Covid care centre within JNU campus
The petition submitted that if a resident of JNU is infected with Covid-19, the resident is required to self-isolate in a small hostel room, where they are dependent upon public kitchens, bathrooms and toilets to cater to their basic needs.
The petition stated that upon outbreak of second wave of Covid-19 in second week of April, the petitioners had written two letters to the Registrar of JNU, informing him about the alarming situation in the campus and suggesting various steps to be taken in order to mitigate the situation, but the Registrar failed to respond. As there was no contact with the Registrar, the petitioners wrote a letter to the Vice-Chancellor of JNU, but again to no avail.
Thereafter, in the light of a number of residents of JNU campus testing positive for Covid-19 virus and inaction on the part of JNU, the petitioners wrote a letter to the Additional District Magistrate, New Delhi, Karthikeyan, requesting a Covid Management Facility be set up inside the JNU campus. The ADM wrote back and provided “Guidelines for Gated Residential Complexes Desirous of Setting up small COVID Care Facility by Resident Welfare Associations/Residential Societies/Non-Governmental Organisation (NGOs)” issued by the Directorate General of Health Services, Govt. of NCT of Delhi, furthermore, informing the petitioners that the Sub-Divisional Magistrate would visit the University campus in order to inspect if the University infrastructure is adequate for conducting a Covid-19 facility.
The Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Ankur Meshram, upon the request of the petitioners inspected the building proposed to be Covid Care Centre and stated that the said building is adequate. The SDM informed the petitioners the said building can be approved to be a Covid Care Centre subject to JNU sharing the responsibility of maintaining such a facility.
Previously, JNU had filed a status report stating that the University had identified Sabarmati Dormitory to be utilized as Covid Care Centre and the same was pending approval of Government of NCT of Delhi. Advocate Rizwan appearing on behalf of the Delhi Government informed the court that a decision on JNU’s proposal would be taken within two weeks.