The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought to know why the Delhi government has specifically chosen 33 private hospitals and not the remaining private hospitals for reserving 80 per cent ICU beds for COVID-19 patients.
A division bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad asked Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain to take instructions on the matter and passed it over for hearing later in the day. The matter will be taken up again in some time.
The High Court was hearing a petition filed by the Delhi government against a single-judge bench order imposing an interim stay on its decision to reserve 80 per cent ICU beds in 33 private hospitals in the national capital for COVID-19 patients.
The bench said that the Delhi government’s September notification regarding reserving beds is outdated as there is a complete change in circumstances in Delhi as COVID-19 infection cases are on the rise and added that the present scenario of virus infection is “an extraordinary situation” as numbers are far higher than that in September.
Jain submitted that this is not an adversarial litigation and there was a lot of pressure for ICU beds. Only 33 private hospitals were chosen, he told the court.
Asking the rationale behind choosing these 33 private hospitals, the court said, “How have you done your exercise? Have you seen the population density and extent of infection? One of the petitioners Rakesh Malhotra had to go all the way to Dwarka for his treatment.”
The Delhi government, in its petition filed through Additional Standing Counsel Sanjoy Ghose, had moved against the interim order dated September 22 and said that the single-judge bench has not appreciated the categoric submissions made on behalf of the appellant regarding the surge in the number of COVID-19 patients, and the dynamic efforts being undertaken by the appellant to tackle the ever-changing nature of the situation regarding healthcare and medical facilities in the NCT of Delhi, on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier, a single-judge bench had stayed the order passed by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal government instructing private hospitals in Delhi to reserve 80 per cent of ICU beds for COVID-19 patients, while hearing a petition moved by the Association of Healthcare Providers India.
The association’s plea filed through advocates Sanyam Khetarpal and Narita Yadav had stated that the order has been passed in an arbitrary, unfair and illegal manner without even realising the difficulties that may be faced by the said private nursing homes and hospitals.