Del HC | ‘We made no request for any hotel, much less Ashoka Hotel’: Notice issued to Delhi Govt. after it reserved 100 rooms in 5-star hotel as Covid facility for Judges, judicial officers, families

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli, JJ., took suo motu cognizance of media reports stating that on the request from the Delhi High Court, the Delhi Government has ordered that 100 rooms at Ashoka Hotel, a five-star facility, be kept aside for Covid Health Centre (CHC) for the Judges and Judicial Officers of the Court and their family members.

As per the reports, the said facility is to be linked to Primus Hospital, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. It appeared that an order for the said purpose had been issued by the Delhi Government on 25-4-2021 by Ms Geeta Grover, Incident Commander/SDM, Sub-Division Chanakyapuri, under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act.

The Court made inquiry from the Registrar General of the High Court as to whether a request for keeping aside rooms in Ashoka Hotel, or any other hotel, had been made to the Government, either for the Judges of the High Court or the judiciary subordinate to the High Court, or their family members. The Court was informed that no such request had been made in respect of any hotel, much less Ashoka Hotel.

It appeared to the Court that the Delhi Government, on its own, has proceeded to issue the order dated 25-4-2021 purporting to set up and keep aside 100 rooms at Ashoka Hotel for creation of a CHC for the use of the Judges other Judicial Officers of Delhi, placing them at the disposal of Primus Hospital, Chanakyapuri.

The High Court, therefore, was inclined to take suo motu cognizance of the newspaper/media reports, as also the order dated 25-4-2021 passed by Ms Geeta Grover. The Court directed issuance of notice to the Delhi Government through the Chief Secretary. Notice, it was directed, be also issued to Ms Geeta Grover, Incident Commander/SDM, Sub-Division Chanakyapuri, who had issued the order dated 25-4-2021.

The matter has been directed to be registered as public interest litigation and be placed before the Bench of the Chief Justice dealing with public interest litigation, for passing appropriate orders. [Setting-up of Covid Health Centre, In re,  2021 SCC OnLine Del 1826, decided on 27-4-2021]

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