Covid-19: SC worried about worsening pandemic situation

The court noted that the infection rate in Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Assam is getting out of control and sought status reports within two days

SC on Covid

A three-judge Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, MR Shah and Subhash Reddy have expressed their concern over the alarming rate of Covid 19 cases particularly in the States of Delhi and Gujarat. (In Re: The Proper Treatment of Covid 19 Patients and Dignified Handling Of Dead Bodies In The Hospitals Etc. W.P Civ. No. 07 of 2020).

The Solicitor-General of India, Tushar Mehta represented the Central government and Senior Advocate Sanjay Jain represented the NCT of Delhi.

The Bench directed the Governments of Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Assam to file status reports detailing the steps taken by them to manage the crisis. “All states have to be prepared to combat the situation of Covid19 which is likely to worsen and immediate steps required by all states. Status report be filed within two days. List on Friday”, said the Bench, reported LiveLaw.

Justice MR Shah asked the Counsel for Gujarat, “What is happening in the State of Gujarat? What is the policy decision? What is happening in your state? What steps are you taking with respect to political events etc?” Justice Shah also slammed the State of Gujarat with regard to the permissions granted for performance of marriage ceremonies and processions in the state. The Gujarat said that a status report would be placed before the top court immediately, as reported by Bar and Bench.

“Things have worsened in the last two weeks in Delhi. We need a status report to understand bottle necks if any with regard to COVID patient’s management”, Justice Bhushan remarked to the ASG representing the Delhi Government. The ASG informed the court that a compliance affidavit had been filed before the apex court by the AAP government on July 22, 2020 adhering to its earlier directions.

Further, the ASG, Sanjay Jain submitted that with the rise in demand for beds in private hospitals, all 115 private hospitals have 80 percent beds reserved for COVID patients as compared to the earlier notification which had only 33 such hospitals under the reservation ambit. Dedicated slots for cremation of 380 Covid patients attached to hospitals area wise, is also in place.

The Union’s submission started with SG Tushar Mehta expressing grief over the situation saying, “This is unfortunate for humanity that you have to deal with this. That dead body becomes a subject of this court.” To this, Justice Ashok Bhushan said, “Yes, but it has to be taken account of.”

Moving ahead, the SG said, “I understand this is not Us Vs. Them, it’s Us together but I want to tell the Court that on November 15, the Union Minister has taken some decisions and directions have been issued but Delhi needs to do more.”

The court concluded the hearing by observing, “Solicitor-General submits that Union Home Minister has taken steps to improve the situation in Delhi. He will file an affidavit regarding the status of COVID cases in the country, especially Delhi.”

The matter will now be heard on Friday, this week.


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