Covid-19 has completely exposed Delhi’s medical infrastructure: High Court

The court said that it cannot turn away citizens simply because the State lacks proper medical infrastructure


“The existing medical infrastructure in the State has been completely exposed when it has been put to test”, said Delhi High Court while hearing a plea of a 52-year-old Covid patient who had been admitted to Hardik Hospital. His oxygen levels had dangerously fallen to 42 and the hospital had no facility of either ICU beds or ventilators.

The Bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said that “the obligation of the State to provide sufficient infrastructure to protect the lives of the people cannot be understated.” They also referred to Article 21 of the Constitution of India, that guarantees the “most fundamental basic right i.e., the Right to Life and Liberty to every person.”

The court took strong exception to the crumbling infrastructure and said, “This Court cannot turn away the petitioner by merely telling him that the State does not have the infrastructure to deal with his condition because the ICU beds with Ventilator are already taken by other patients. The petitioner himself states that no ICU bed with Ventilator facility is available despite his making enquiries in several hospitals.”

Further, the court directed the Delhi Government to provide the necessary infrastructure to enable the ailing petitioner to undergo the required treatment. The Bench also recorded that besides the petitioner, there are many others in the National Capital who are struggling for the same resources.

The order read, “At the same time, we cannot lose sight of the fact that there are thousands of others, who are afflicted by the same disease in the city and whose condition may be as bad – if not worse, than that of the petitioner. They would have an equal claim to secure an ICU Bed with Ventilator facility.”

The High Court opined that merely because the petitioner had approached it, this cannot be a reason for the court to pass an order in his favour so as to allow him to “steal a march over others similarly situated”. The Bench clarified that the order would not give any preferential right to the petitioner over others who are also suffering from Covid.

The court reiterated that the State must provide the facility for medical treatment as may be required to all residents of Delhi. “In case they require simple hospitalisation with medication, the same would be provided; in case they require Oxygen support, the same would be provided; and in case they require admission to ICU with or without Ventilator, it shall also be the obligation of the State to provide the same”, directed the Division Bench.

The order may be read here:


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