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Whether Healthcare Professionals Treating COVID-19 Be Accommodated Near Their Working Place: SC Asks Centre

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The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Central Government to file its reply, whether it is feasible to provide accommodation to the Healthcare workers dealing with the COVID-19 cases near hospitals as they are facing problems going back to their homes.  

A division bench presided by Justice L. Nageshwara Rao, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice B.R. Gavai of Supreme Court of India while conducting hearing through video conferencing suggested to the center to consider the suggestion of Senior Advocate Mr. Mukul Rohatgi appearing for the petitioner to provide accommodation outside the hospitals for quarantine. 

The Apex Court has passed its order on the plea filed by Dr. Arushi Jain through AOR Mithu Jain, Advocate Mr. Arjun Syal, and Mr. Arnav Vidyarthi seeking direction to the Union of India to provide alternative accommodation and lodging facilities to the frontline medical healthcare personnel while performing the duty.

To deal with the current issue, the plea has sought directions to acquire/take over vacant hotels, guesthouses including the ones owned by public sector undertakings, state Bhavans, Sadans, etc. and accordingly use it to provide alternative self-containing accommodation and or quarantine facilities to frontline medical healthcare workers use the powers given under Section 65 and 34 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005. 

Mr. Rohatgi submitted before the Court that “resident doctors in Government hospitals after conducting their duty for 14 days, they are supposed to be in quarantine, but in the same hospital in one room and sharing one bathroom, this is self-defeating.”

Mr. Rohatgi said that “resident doctors for the Government hospitals need separate facilities or else Warriors will fall down.” Whereas, he further added that we are not asking for any adversarial order, asking for providing necessary places and better accommodations close by, this lady (Dr. Arushi) is a resident doctor in Udaipur.

Solicitor General Mr. Tushar Mehta contended that “some advisories are under consideration and this would be one of them.”

Mr. Rohatgi replying to Mr. Mehta’s contention said, Directive is fine but we should know how many hotels or accommodation is there. 

Whereas, Justice Rao further suggested Mr. Mehta that, why is the Government not requisitioning other places near the hospitals itself. Mr. Mehta appreciating the recommendation of Justice Rao and said, “it is a fair suggestion, it will be considered.”

The Court has directed Mr. Mehta to get instructions by next week on quarantine facilities to be provided to the doctors outside the hospitals.

-India Legal Bureau

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