Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

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]

Hot Off The PressNews

As reported by PTI, the Division Bench of D.N. Patel, CJ and Prateek Jalan addressed an issue wherein Delhi Labour Union sought that women be provided special casual or paid leave as menstruation is intrinsically related to human dignity and by not providing separate toilet facilities or breaks to maintain hygiene, the authorities are depriving the employees of their human dignity.

In the PIL, it was sought that 4 days leave be granted to all classes of women employees and to pay overtime allowance to menstruating women employees if they opt to work during that period.

Various other reliefs such as period rest, clean and separate toilets along with the provision of sanitary napkins be provided to women during their menstruation period.

About the daily wage, muster roll, contractual and outsourced workers, the plea had said they also face severe difficulties during menstruation as their work places lack adequate sanitation and clean toilets and they are not given the facility of earned or sick leave by their employers. [PTI]

In view of the above, Court directed Centre and Delhi Government to treat as a representation a PIL seeking grant of paid leave to women employees during menstruation.

[Source: PTI]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

As reported by media reports, use of “hookah” in public places has been banned by Delhi Government to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The use of hookah with or without tobacco in public places including restaurants, bars, etc. has been prohibited.

“Smokers may also already have lung diseases or reduced lung capacity which would greatly increase the risk of serious illness.”

According to the order, Smokers are likely to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 as smoking means the fingers are in contact with the lips which increases the possibility of transmission of the virus, the health department said in an order.

Mouthpieces and hoses used for smoking could facilitate the transmission of COVID-19 in communal and social settings, hence the use of hookah has been prohibited in Delhi.

[Source: Economic Times]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Jyoti Singh, J., addressed an issue with regard to revised wages for prisoners in Delhi Prisons.

Purpose of the present petition was to seek directions in order to make payment of wages to the prisoners at revised rates in terms of communication issued by Government of NCT of Delhi.

Sanjay Ghose, ASC appearing for the respondents submitted that an order for the approval of revised wages was passed by the Office of Director General (Prisons) on 23-07-2020, hence the payment shall be made thereof.

On perusal of the above-mentioned Order, Court stated that the convicts would be paid revised wages in terms of the Order passed on 20-06-2019, enhancing the wages and the arrears shall also be disbursed.

Additionally, 25% deduction from wages of the convicts meant for Victim Welfare Fund, has also been suspended till further Orders.

In view of the above, petition was disposed of. [Nitin Verma v. GNCTD, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 870 , decided on 24-07-2020]

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad, JJ., addressed a matter wherein the teachers of  schools run by NrDMC were not paid salaries since March, 2020, to which Court declared as a “Sorry state of affairs.”

On 18th June, 2020 Court had noted that appellants-teachers were aggrieved by the Order passed on 9th June, 2020 dismissed their petition for issuing respondent 2 to release their salaries that had remained unpaid since March, 2020.

On observing that the teachers working in schools run by NrDMC cannot be made to run from pillar to post for release of their lawful dues and more particularly when respondent 2 was in default.

Respondent 2 filed an affidavit admitting inter alia that just the salary of the teachers teaching in the schools run by the Nr.D.M.C. have not been paid, there are several other employees working in different categories in Nr.D.M.C. starting from Group A Officials down to the Safai Karamcharis whose salaries could not be paid as Delhi Government has not released the amounts payable to Nr.D.M.C. under various heads from April, 2020 to June, 2020.

Bench stated that,

“To say the least, this is a very sorry state of affairs.”

The teachers cannot be left on a wing and a prayer. They must be released their rightful dues without any further delay. As they are being made to discharge COVID-19 duties at the instance of the Delhi Government, they can be well equated with COVID-19 warriors.

Further on noting the fact that only when orders were passed by the Court, Delhi Government released funds, Court deemed it appropriate to dispose of the present appeal and register a suo motu petition, flagging the present issue.

Thus, Registry was directed to assign a number to the petition titled as ‘In Re: Unpaid Salary of Teachers and Employees of Nr.D.M.C.’

Delhi Government was in view of the above averments directed to file an affidavit and a timeline also needs to be set down in the said affidavit with regard to disbursement of funds.

Matter to be placed before the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court on 30th June, 2020. [Akhil Dilli Prathmik Shikshak Sangh v. Govt of NCT of Delhi, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 670 , decided on 26-06-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Home Minister Amit Shah said the Modi Government is committed to check the COVID-19 spread in Delhi and keep the national capital safe. In a meeting with the Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal besides senior officers, several important decisions were taken to ensure safety of the citizens of Delhi against infection.

In view of the scarcity of beds for Corona patients in Delhi hospitals, the Central Government has decided to immediately provide 500 converted rail coaches to the Delhi Government. With this, 8,000 more beds will be available in Delhi and these will be equipped with all facilities in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

The Union Home Minister said house-to-house health surveys will be conducted in Containment Zones in the capital to improve Contact Mapping, and the survey report will be available within a week. For effective monitoring all residents will be asked to download Aarogya Setu app on their mobile phones.

The Home Minister said COVID-19 testing will be doubled within the next two days and trebled after six days in order to check the Corona virus spread in Delhi. Besides, in the Containment Zones, testing facility will be made available in each Polling Station.

For effective transmission of guidelines and information regarding Coronavirus to clinics and minor hospitals in Delhi, it has been decided to constitute a Committee of Senior doctors in AIIMS so that the Best Practices in the fight against Corona are communicated to the lowest level. A Helpline Number on telephonic guidance will be set up and released.

A Committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of Dr. VK Paul, Member NITI Aayog to ensure the availability of 60% of their Corona beds by private hospitals at lower rates and fix the rate of Corona testing and treatment. The Committee will submit its report by tomorrow.

The Home Minister underlined the country’s resolve in tackling the Corona pandemic with vigour and strength and shares the pain of the families who have lost their dear ones. He said the Government has decided to issue fresh guidelines regarding the last rites of the deceased, which will reduce the waiting time.

Shri Amit Shah said the nation is fighting this global outbreak with alertness and cooperation of all under the leadership of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. The country is also sincerely indebted to several NGOs for their exemplary devotion during this crisis. In this effort, the Government has decided to enroll the services of Scouts & Guides, NCC, NSS and other voluntary organizations as volunteers, with Health Services. Central Government has decided to depute five more Senior Officers to the Delhi Government in order to effectively fight the Corona virus.

Several other decisions were also taken during today’s meeting. A joint team of doctors of the Health Departments of Government of India and Delhi Government, AIIMS and all three Municipal Corporations of Delhi will visit all Corona Hospitals in Delhi and submit a report after inspecting the Health Infrastructure and preparedness for treatment of COVID-19 patients.

Shri Shah issued directions to ensure that the various decisions taken today are implemented at the ground level by the Health and other Departments of Central and Delhi Governments and experts.

Government of India assured the Delhi Government that it shall provide all necessary resources including Oxygen cylinders, Ventilators and Pulse Oximeters.

Ministry of Home Affairs

[Press Release dt. 14-06-2020]

[Source: PIB]  

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of D.N. Patel, CJ and Prateek Jalan, J., directed GNCTD and Centre that, the mobile application developed by Delhi Government — “Delhi Corona” needs to be updated without too much a time lag, so that the information being received by the public is current.

Amicus Curiae, Om Prakash pointed out that the Mobile Application namely “Delhi Corona Mobile Application” developed by Delhi Government is not being regularly updated.

Further it was submitted there had been a mismatch of the facts and data released by the Government/private hospitals in Delhi especially with regard to the availability of the beds and ventilators.

Helpline numbers as provided by Govt. of NCT of Delhi, are not properly working.

Further he added to the submissions that, nodal officers appointed by the Delhi Government should be the ones vested with the responsibility to monitor the allotment of the beds in the Government as well as private hospitals, so that these officers can keep a check on the hospitals which are denying admission to the corona patients even though the beds are available with them.

Amicus Curiae submitted that real time updation of data should be done by the hospitals or data should atleast be updated every 8 hour and further no denial in testing and asymptomatic patients should also be tested for COVID-19 immediately.

Standing Counsel for GNCTD pointed out various steps initiated by GNCTD like:

  • Centralized toll-free helpline number 1031 has been developed by merging all the helplines. Government of NCT of Delhi is in the process of further augmenting the toll-free helpline No. 1031 by adding 50 more hunting lines enabling callers to be connected swiftly to an operator.
  • Standard Operating Procedure has also been evolved for receiving calls and effectively responding to the callers.
  • Special helpline number dedicated only to the Corona positive patients/cases has recently been initiated. There are district-wise ground teams assigned for effective surveillance of Corona.
  • Much of the district-wise distribution data that Delhi receives from ICMR is incorrect, resulting in inordinate delay in the geo-station mapping carried out by authorities/agencies. Thus, there is usually a delay caused in contacting the patient who has tested positive after he has received the lab-report and in the meantime patients tend to panic.
  • Out of 209 ambulances of the Centralized Accident and Trauma Services (CATS) available overall, 136 are exclusively dedicated for COVID patients. 125 additional cabs have been hired by Government of NCT of Delhi from private operators for non-serious patients.
  • Data on Mobile Application namely “Delhi Corona” is not getting uploaded but the ID and passwords have been given to the hospitals concerned and these hospitals are directly uploading the data regarding availability of the beds, ventilators, etc.
  • Four Grievance Officers have been appointed for redressal of complaints regarding availability of the ambulance, hospital, beds and ventilators, etc.

Decision of the Bench

Bench on perusal of the submissions, stated that there is a need for real time updation of the data by all hospitals.

Thus, Court directs GNCTD as well as Centre that they shall take all necessary steps for ensuring real time updation of the data, without too much a time lag, so that the information being received by the public is current.

If any Committee is appointed by GNCTD, the said Committee will also take note of this fact that there shall be real time updation of the data on the above mentioned mobile application.

Court directs Centre as well as GNCTD that testing shall be carried out by the Central as well as State Government run hospitals, subject to availability of testing kits with priority be given to persons approaching for test on the recommendation of a doctor.

Matter to be listed on 25-06-2020. [Court on its own motion v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2020 SCC OnLine Del 634 , decided on 08-06-2020]
Hot Off The PressNews

Lt. Governor Anil Baijal, issues an Order exercising powers under Section 18(3) of the Disaster Management Act, stating that Government and private hospitals and nursing homes situated in the NCT of Delhi have to extend medical facilities to all COVID-19 patients coming for monitoring /treatment without any discrimination.

Medical treatment should not be denied to any patient on the ground of not being a resident of Delhi.

The above Order of LG, Anil Baijal came into effect after the Delhi Government had come out with an Order which had laid the distinction between Delhi Residents and non-Delhi Residents, wherein all the hospitals operating under Delhi Government and all the private hospitals to ensure that only bonafide resident of Delhi are admitted in these hospitals.

However, treatment relating to oncology, transplantation, neuro-surgery shall continue for all patients irrespective of the place of residence.Also, any Medico-Legal Victims of road accidents, acid-attack happening within NCT of Delhi to continue for all patients, irrespective of place of residence.

Following documents were to be treated as valid proof of residence: 1) Voter ID 2) Bank/Kisan/Post office current passbook or 3) Patient Ration Card/Passport/DL/Income Tax Return filed or assessment order, or 4)Latest Water/Telephone/Electricity/Gas Connection Bill for that address, either in the name of the patient or that of his/her immediate relation like parents etc.,or 5) Postal department’s post received/delivered in the patient’s name at the given address 6) in case of minors, above mentioned documents in the name of parents’, or 7) Aadhaar card made prior to June 7, 2020.


Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of D.N. Patel, CJ and Prateek Jalan, J., addressed a petition wherein the Court held that,

“the allegations against Death Audit Committee have no basis and thus we are not sitting in appeal against the reports published by them.”

Grievance ventilated in the present petition is about publication of incorrect data pertaining to number of deaths due to COVID-19 by GNCTD.

Standing Counsel, Rahul mehra submitted that certain Guidelines have been issued by the Central Government dated 15th March, 2020 and 10th May, 2020 in this regard and a three member Death Audit Committee has been constituted by GNCTD on 20th April, 2020.

Further, Death Audit Committee has been following the aforesaid guidelines of the Central Government in full letter and spirit and no arbitrariness or discrimination is being done by the respondents while publishing the data in question.

Bench on perusal of the above held that,

it appears that the whole case of the petitioner is based upon presumptions and surmises as the same has been filed on the basis of some newspaper reports without any proper research.

Court also stated that, there is no doubt that the members of the Committee are experts in their subject and field. There seems to be no arbitrariness or discrimination being done nor is there are any material to show false fabrication of data in question being published by the respondents.

Petition was dismissed with the following observations,

“We expect from the Death Audit Committee and the respondents that they will publish the data only after proper analysis of the data supplied by the Central Government run hospitals, State Government run hospitals and Private hospitals in Delhi.” [All India Lawyers’ Union v. GNCTD,  2020 SCC OnLine Del 602 , decided on 22-05-2020]