Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of Vipin Sanghi and Rajnish Bhatnagar, JJ., took suo motu cognizance of a video clip  wherein a person named Dharmendra Bajaj while recording the same expresses his anguish with regard to helpline numbers given by GNCTD and unable to find hospital for his COVID-19 positive mother.

In the said video, person stated that his mother was found COVID-19 positive ad was admitted on 19th May, 2020, later on 21st May, 2020 the Deputy Medical Superintendent of the said hospital asked him to arrange ventilator and hospital bed in some other hospital.

On trying all the helpline numbers given by GNCTD and visiting several hospitals, Mr Dharmendra Bajaj felt helpless and expressed his anguish by stating that,

“…tall claims made by the Govt. of NCT of Delhi (GNCTD) and the Central Government with regard to adequate arrangements being in place – to deal with patients of Covid-19 who require hospitalisation and treatment, are far from true on the ground.”

To the above bench stated that,

The helplines should render meaningful and effective help to the callers. If the experience of Mr Dharmendra Bhardwaj is anything to go by, it appears, that this aspect has not been adequately addressed by the respondents.

Standing Counsel for GNCTD, Rahul Mehra submitted that GNCTD has provided 10 helpline numbers which are efficiently functioning. Further he added that 1075-helpline number is managed by Centre.

Adding to the above submission, Mr Mehra informs the Court that a mobile application is under development, which would give live updates of hospital beds available in Delhi Government and Private hospitals.

Bench on perusal of the above and present situation stated that respondents should assess the adequacy of the helpline capacity and state whether the same is sufficient to deal with the present call traffic and the traffic expected in the foreseeable future, keeping in view the continuous rise in the number of cases being reported each day.

  • Court asks for the capacity created to deal with calls made on the helpline numbers; the nature of assistance rendered, and; the log maintained for the same.
  • GNCTD should consider providing ambulance facility for pickup of COVID-19 serious patients for hospitalisation once they are report of the said case.

Bench in regard to present matter and the video pertaining to which court took suo motu cognizance of the matter asked for the transcript of the said video to be prepared and filed.

Advocate, Om Prakash appointed as the Amicus Curiae to assist the Court.

Amicus Curiae shall call all the helpline numbers provided in order to see the effectiveness of these numbers.

Lastly, the Court asked Centre and GNCTD to file their status report on all the aspects mentioned in the video recording before the next date of hearing.

Matter to be listed on 3rd June, 2020. [Court on its own motion, In Re; 2020 SCC OnLine Del 605 , decided on 26-05-2020]

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