Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Delhi High Court: The Division Bench of Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli, JJ., addressed the issues with regard to position of Non-ICU and ICU beds, PSA Plants, Medical Equipments, etc.

An application was moved on behalf of the State of Haryana to seek clarification in regard to the Court’s order dated 27-04-2021, whereby the Court had directed taking over operations of Seth Air Products at Palwal, Haryana whereat Seth Air Products was undertaking gasification of liquid Oxygen and supplying to Delhi. It was pointed out that Seth Air Products undertakes the said process not only to supply Oxygen to Delhi, but also to State of Haryana.

As per the allocation made by the Government of India, 21 MT of liquid Oxygen was to be gasified in favour of the State of Haryana, and for the NCT of Delhi it was 38.05 MT.

Bench while disposing of the application in regard to the above made it clear that the directions to take over the supervision of the plant of Seth Air Products situated at Palwal, Haryana by the officers of the GNCTD should not adversely affect the supply of oxygen to the State of Haryana in terms of allocation made by the Centre.

Senior Counsel for the GNCTD, Mr Mehra projected before the Court the position of both ICU and Non-ICU Beds in the NCT of Delhi. He submitted that by applying the formula worked out by the Central Government – in consultation with the ICMR, requirement of oxygen for the said 16,272 beds per day is 304 MT. There are a large number of other hospitals and nursing homes with less than 100 beds and their requirement put together is estimated at 120 MT of liquid oxygen per day.

Further, he added that looking at surge of cases and the intimation that the pandemic may peak around 15th of May, 2021, the GNCTD is making arrangements to add another 15,000 non-ICU beds, which would require 280MT of liquid oxygen per day.

Grievance of Mr Mehra is that the allocation of 480 MT or 490 MT of liquid oxygen per day to Delhi is far less than its requirement.

With regard to the 8 PSA Plants which were sanctioned by the Central Government to be set up in Hospitals in Delhi, the position informed to the Court was that 2 Plants are already installed, and 2 Plants would be made operational by 30-04-2021.

Bench stated that looking to the critical situation being faced by the NCT of Delhi, the Central Government should instruct the vendor to expedite the installation of the remaining 4 PSA Plants at the earliest. A status report clearly stating by when the said 4 plants would be installed and made operational be filed by 01.05.2021.

Senior Advocate, Tushar Rao and Mr Malhotra submitted that the U.P. State Government has requisitioned certain equipment called “On-Board Oxygen Generation System”, which produces 1,000 Litres of Oxygen per minute, from the DRDO. In view of the above, GNCTD should make a similar requisition of the said equipment from the DRDO so that same could be installed at the earliest.

Hence, GNCTD is directed to take immediate steps in this regard and raise a similar request, as was raised by State of U.P. to the DRDO and all the authorities concerned.

Bench stated that whenever any seizure is made of the medicines/ Oxygen cylinders, the IOs should immediately inform the District Commissioner concerned about the same, and they should also proceed, without waiting for any further orders, to ascertain the genuineness of the said medicines. They should also ensure that the said case property is kept in refrigerated environment, so that the same does not lose its efficacy and become non-usable. The District Commissioners should proceed to pass orders for release of the same without any delay.

Bench added to the above directions that the Delhi Police should immediately release the seized Remdesivir or other Drug used for treating COVID-19 or any Oxygen Cylinders seized from the possession of patients or their attendants, since they would have procured the same only out of desperation, and in need.

While releasing the case property, it shall be ensured by the Delhi Police that photographs/ copies of the relevant documents are retained, so that the case could proceed before the court concerned.

Executive Director Batra Hospital appeared and raised a grievance that in terms of allocation order dated 27-04-2021, said hospital has not been supplied gas.

Court issued notice to all the suppliers of liquid medical oxygen to the NCT of Delhi to be present before the Court with the data available in regard to the supply made by them.

Bench asked GNCTD to create a portal on their website for the creating a mechanism for the purpose so that any person located abroad, desirous of making the import of medical equipment’s to GNCTD. Status report to filed.

Notifications and directives issued by the CBIC to be placed on record.

 Mr Sharma stated that the status report with regard to the cargos, which are waiting clearance on customs ports – in relation to the COVID detection and treatment, shall be placed on record in a sealed cover.

With regard to the development of a portal for bringing in transparency in the matter of distribution of medicines Professor Sanjay Dhir from IIT Delhi & Mr Rajiv Chauhan and Mr Ravi Omar from NIC were present.

The portal developed by the NIC had one shortcoming, namely, it does not have last stage disclosure about the identity of the patients to whom medication would be administered. He states that he has already communicated it to the NIC and suggested the modifications required in the portal. He states that the NIC has agreed to carry out the necessary modifications. Mr  Ravi Omar and Mr Chauhan from the NIC stated that the Health Department of the GNCTD has to now provide their inputs so that final shape to the portal could be given.

Court directed that the exercise should be completed between NIC, GNCTD and Professor Dhir from IIT within one day and the said portal to be operation by 01-05-2021. [Venkateshwar Hospital v. GNCTD, 2021 SCC OnLine Del 1830, decided on 29-04-2021]

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Delhi High Court: Full Bench of Vipin Sanghi, Rekha Palli and Talwant Singh, JJ., took suo motu cognizance of the extraordinary circumstances i.e. the alarming resurgence of COVID-19 pandemic under Article 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India.

Bench ordered that all matters pending before the Court and Subordinate Courts, wherein interim orders issued were subsisting as on 19-04-2021 and expired or will expire thereafter, shall stand automatically extended till 16-07-2021 or until further order, except where any orders to the contrary have been passed by the Supreme Court of India in any particular matter, during the intervening period.

In case any party faces any hardship due to the above-stated order of this Court, they would be at liberty to seek appropriate relief.

High Court directed that the Order be uploaded on the website of this Court and conveyed to all the Standing Counsel, UOI, GNCTD, DDA, Civic Authorities, Delhi High Court Bar Association and all other Bar Associations of Delhi as well as to all District Courts subordinate to this Court.

Matter to be listed on 16-07-2021.[Court on its own motion v. State (GNCTD), WP (C) No. 4921 of 2021, decided on 20-04-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

For the Respondent: Mr Santosh Kumar Tripathi, ASC, GNCTD with Mr Aditya P. Khanna, Advocate.

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Delhi High Court: The Division Bench of Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli, JJ., while addressing the present petition expressed that:

COVID-19 pandemic is presently raging with much greater intensity than prevalent at the time when this petition was initiated in the year 2020.

It has been noted that the number of COVID-19 positive patients, as reported on a daily basis has exceeded 25,000 in the NCT of Delhi.

Court observed that the test positivity rates (TPR) are rising continually, with around 1/3rd of all districts in the country having a positivity rate of more than 10%. The TPR was more than 13% as on 15.04.2021. According to medical estimates, around 15 to 20% of these patients could require hospital admissions, with a quarter of them requiring specialized ICU care.

Above position translates to a requirement of roughly 50,000 beds daily in the country, which has already pushed the limited health care system beyond its limits.

It is evident that the health care infrastructure is on the verge of an imminent and complete collapse.

It was stated that GNCTD is being unreasonable and unmindful of the limitations of men, infrastructure and equipment available to deal with the massive surge in COVID-19 positive cases.

Bench observed that because of the large numbers of samples, labs that have been entrusted with the job of collecting and analyzing samples of COVID-19 through RT PCR Tests are already hard pressed. Court stated that it does not serve the interest of any such lab to delay the reports deliberately or negligently.

Hence, Court added that it hopes and expects:

  • all the labs to continue to work efficiently and diligently in order to prepare and provide the reports of the tests conducted by them at the earliest humanly possible.
  • None of the accredited labs would refuse to take samples on account of the rush, if they are otherwise in a position to collect the samples.

Another issue before the Court was with respect to the shortage of supply of medical oxygen which is a critical requirement for treatment of serious patients of COVID-19. Mr Mehra pointed that the Central Government had already issued orders that, except to meet the needs of a few industries, the supply of oxygen manufactured in the country should be provided for medical use in the country.

He further added that:

“…shortage of oxygen may result in steep rise in loss of lives.” 

Bench stated that let Central Government look into the above matter on an urgent basis.

It was submitted that M/s INOX, which has existing contracts with hospitals in Delhi, is diverting the oxygen produced by it to other states.

To the above issue, High Court directed INOX to honour its contracts with the GNCTD and hospitals in Delhi and restore the supply of 140 MT of oxygen immediately – which shall, in turn, be distributed to the needy hospitals of Delhi.

Central Government should examine the availability of oxygen in different states in the country in the context of the spread of the pandemic so that oxygen could be made available to the areas where it is most required, looking at the surge in covid cases.

 High Court directed Centre and GNCTD to file affidavits disclosing – in respect of hospitals manages by them, hospital-wise, the number of COVID beds reserved, further how many ICU Beds with or without ventilator and with or without oxygen supply.

Affidavits should also state as to how many COVID beds have been allocated by the Central Government to GNCTD in ICU/non-ICU and with/ without ventilators, and with, or without, oxygen.

Another aspect which the Court highlighted was the plight of daily wagers and migrant labour force as was seen in the year 2020 on imposition of lockdown. It has been noted that a lot of them have started going back to their origin states with the surge in COVID cases in the GNCTD.

“…daily wagers – who are hand to mouth, and earn their bread everyday to feed themselves and their families, are once again faced with the grim reality of facing shortage of even basic necessities such as food, clothing and medication, due to the curfew imposed till 26th April, 2021.”

Bench remarked that:

GNCTD failed to utilize thousands of crores of rupees they are sitting on, which is available with the Board constituted under the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996, and which has been collected as Building cess for construction workers. The registration of lakhs of building workers – which had lapsed on account of non-renewal, were not provided any ex gratia payment.

GNCTD to ensure that the above stated Board shall utilize the monies lying with it, inter alia, to provide food, medicines and other necessities to the needy construction workers at their respective work sites.

Provision of Food

Lastly, the Court held that for the purpose of providing food, the GNCTD should utilise the contractors engaged for providing mid-day meals to school children in Government and MCD Schools, since the schools are not operational currently, and that facility could still be utilized for the aforesaid purpose. The Chief Secretary, Delhi shall ensure the implementation of this direction without any delay.

Matter shall be taken up today post-lunch session. [Rakesh Malhotra v. GNCTD, 2021 SCC OnLine Del 1800, decided on 19-04-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

For the Respondents:

Mr Satyakam, ASC, for the GNCTD/ respondent Nos. 1 & 2.

Mr Rahul Mehra, Standing Counsel (Crl.) for GNCTD.

Ms Monica Arora, Adv. for Mr Chetan Sharma, ASG

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Prathiba M. Singh, J., while considering the re-opening of spas in GNCTD expressed that:

“While the spread of Covid-19 is the main factor to be considered, it has to be also balanced with the interest of reopening of businesses and establishments to bring back a semblance of normalcy.”

Petitioner an association of wellness Ayurveda and Spa providers in NCT Delhi is aggrieved by the delay by GNCTD and the Ministry of Home Affairs in issuing guidelines for re-opening of spas sought quashing of order dated 03-08-2020 issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).

After the lockdown in March, 2020, though various other establishments were permitted to reopen and commerce businesses, spas have still been forced to remain closed.

Petitioners relied on MOHFW’s office memorandum dated 18-11-2020 permitting the reopening of spas subject to conditions.

Despite the above, GNCTD did not permit the reopening of spas.

Senior Counsel, Mr Datta submitted that salons and other similar places have been opened but not giving permission for reopening of spas is discriminatory.

This Court vide order dated 04-12-2020 came to a prima facie conclusion that the distinction sought to be made between the salons and spas would be discriminatory.

GNCTD’s affidavit had the only reason for not giving permission on re-opening of spas which was the longer duration of proximity with the client.

Decision

Bench expressed that several developments have taken place including the reduction in the number of COVID-19 cases as also the introduction of a vaccine.

“…the question of reopening any particular class of establishments is a delicate one to be taken after due consideration of the relative merits and demerits.”

As of June, 2020, i.e., almost 6 months ago, salons which offer similar services have already been opened in Delhi, subject to such establishments observing standard operating procedure prescribed by the MoHFW.

High Court opined that the slight difference in the nature of services and a slightly higher percentage of risk due to the proximity of the client and the service provider can be obviated by prescribing stricter measures and safeguards rather than continuing to keep such establishments closed. 

Difference between salons and spas

Court observed that it cannot also be lost sight of that several salons also provide services akin to those provided in spas. The difference between the services provided in Salons and Spas is very minimal. The said services require service providers and service takers to remain in close proximity for sufficient duration.

Hence,

“…while allowing the opening of salons, continuing the embargo on spas would be violative of the rights of these establishments and their employees.”

High Court is conscious of the importance of prescribing strict safeguards that ought to be taken by establishments providing spa services as also the clients who visit the establishments, the continuation of the embargo on reopening of spas is unjustified.

Therefore, in light of the above, Court permitted the reopening of spas, wellness clinic and similar establishments, in the GNCTD, subject to the following conditions:

  • There shall be strict compliance of the conditions specified in the office memorandum of 18-11-2020 prescribed by the MoHFW in respect of spas. The 6 feet distance shall be in general maintained between clients and employees. Insofar as the service providers i.e., therapists etc., are concerned, they shall maintain all standards of hygiene, masking etc., as set out below;
  • In addition, considering the nature of services provided in spas, all employees in such establishments shall undergo fortnightly RTPCR tests, especially the therapists who are likely to come in close contact with the clients.
  • All therapists and other employees, as also the visitors, shall be subjected to thermal temperature checks and if anyone shows any symptoms, they would not be permitted entry in the establishment.
  • All service providers shall wear face shields and masks while providing therapy. For treatments which are longer than thirty minutes, a PPE kit should also be worn in addition.
  • Clients should preferably wear masks to the extent possible, considering the nature of services which are availed of.
  • All visitors/clients shall sign a declaration form to the effect that they have not contracted Covid-19 and if they have, they have tested negative. The establishments are permitted to take a written consent form accepting the risks that may be involved for clients/visitors.
  • Tools including clothing, other apparel, towels etc., used for clients, shall be sanitised after each and every treatment.
  • It shall be ensured that hygienic conditions are maintained in the spas and any other safeguards in force for salons shall also be adhered to by the spas.

Bench permitted to open spas, wellness clinics and similar establishments in light of the above conditions.[Sukaita v. GNCTD,    2021 SCC OnLine Del 61, decided 14-01-2021]


Advocates who appeared for the parties:
Petitioner: Sachin Dutta, Senior Advocate with Lal Singh and Sudhir Tewatia, Advocates. Randhir Kr. Lal, Advocate.
Respondents: Anupam Srivastava, ASC for GNCTD Advocate for R-1.

Shalini Nair, Anjana Gosain & Aditi Amitabh, Advocates. for R-2

Case Briefs

Central Administrative Tribunal, Delhi: A Division Bench of Justice L. Narasimha Reddy, Chairman, and Mohd. Jamshed, Member (A), dismissed the application for lack of merit.

The facts of the case, in precis, are that the applicant filed MA. No. 1250/2020 prosecuting the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi and the same has been ordered under the present application, OA. No. 975/2020. The applicant was employed with the Forensic Science Laboratory, Delhi, on a contractual basis during which the UPSC issued an Advertisement for selection of candidates to various posts on regular basis.

The applicant having crossed the requisite age limit took the aid of the memo of the Government of NCT of Delhi, wherein the age limit for direct recruitment was relaxed up to 5 years as a one time measure for candidates working on a contractual basis. Since the aforementioned advertisement did not provide for any such relaxation, the applicant claimed the same from UPSC basis the memo by the Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB).

The tribunal heard the arguments advanced by Setu Niket, counsel for the applicant and R.V. Sinha, counsel for the respondent observing that the memo would have been effective only if the posts weren’t governed by Recruitment Rules since the rules have been framed specifically for the posts in question.

The relaxation under recruitment rules is available only to the employees of the Central Government and UTs. It was also noted that the recruitment rules are felicitous hence the UPSC would abide by them alone. Resultantly, the bench was of the opinion that the memo isn’t a legitimate ground for them to compel the UPSC into recognizing the administrative or executive orders.

Therefore, the application being devoid of any merit was dismissed by the bench.[Syed Ahmar Ali Hasmi v. Union Public Service Commission, 2020 SCC OnLine CAT 304, decided on 07-08-2020]

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Delhi High Court: Jayant Nath, J., while hearing a matter with regard to parents defaulting in payment of tuition fees to schools, held that Schools can decline to provide Online Education facility to the students whose parents fail to explain the reason for the default.

Petition filed sought an appropriate writ to quash the Circular dated 18th April, 2020 and to allow the School to charge the actual expenditure incurred during the lockdown period in the form of fees from the students.

Petitioner submits that the Circular is ultra-vires the Delhi School Education Act.

Contentions

Petitioner’s counsel pointed out from the Circular that no fee except tuition fee would be charged during the lockdown period, another thing that was extracted from the Circular was that in no case, the ID and password shall be denied to getting online access of educational facilities to those students who were unable to pay school fee due to financial crisis.

Due to the above-stated clauses, 40 % of the students defaulted in paying fees which resulted in struggle to pay salaries of the staff and teachers.

Standing Counsel for GNCTD submitted that petitioner was free to take steps including issuing of notice to the parents who defaulted in paying tuition fees.

Decision

Bench held that in view of the above circumstances, if the parents defaulted in payment of tuition fees for more than 2 months, petitioner is free to issue appropriate notice to explain the reason of such default and in case they fail to do so, the petitioner is free to so communicate the same to the parents and decline to provide them ID and Password for online education facility for the students. 

Matter to be listed on 5-08-2020.[Queen Mary School Northend v. Director of Education, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 736 , decided on 08-07-2020]

Appointments & TransfersNews

F. No. 61(835)/DD(CPU)/DWCD/Vol-V/2016-17/ 2418-50.— In exercise of the powers conferred under Clause (a) of Sub-Section 2 of Section 17, Section 18 & Sub-Section(1) of the Section 19 of the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 (4 of 2006), read with the Govt. of India, Ministry of Home Affairs Notification F.No.U-11030/1/2007/UTI dated the 15th January, 2008,

Govt. of National Capital Territory of Delhi is pleased to appoint Anurag , as Chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights. The Chairperson shall hold office for a term of three years from the date of Notification in the Official Gazette.


Department of Women and Child Development

Notification dt. 03-07-2020

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Delhi High Court: Prathiba M. Singh, J., while addressing a matter with regard to protection of migrant workers, held that, there is dire need to create a mechanism for the registration of migrant workers, so that they can be protected and benefits of relevant Acts can be passed onto them.

Present petition was filed to seek the implementation of Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979.

GNCTD pursuant to the last order of the Court placed on record an affidavit stating that as far as the the 1979 Act is concerned, there are no registered contractors under the said Act.

In so far as the registration of Migrant Workers under the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996, GNCTD had disclosed that there are various schemes which are available for construction workers.

Further it has been submitted that the registered workers under the above act have been disbursed financial assistance.

GNCTD also informed the Court that the Shramik helpline was made operational during the lockdown period to assist the migrants.

It is stated that no contractor or employer working in NCT Delhi has made any application for issue of registration or grant of a licence, under the 1979 Act. However, it is also mentioned that the Shram Suvidha portal of the Ministry enables online issuance of licences and registrations under the 1979 Act.

Thus, in view of the above Court stated that,

“… there is a dire need for creating a mechanism for registration of migrant workers.”

The said action has to be taken to ensure that migrant labour is adequately protected in terms of the Acts and benefits meant for them are passed to them

Court directed Union of India to file an affidavit in terms of the the kind of portal which is sought to be created, for the registration of migrant labour across the country. Such a portal ought to have on board all the state governments so that the ingress and egress of migrant labour is duly recorded and reported.

Matter to be listed on 22-07-2020. [Shashank S. Mangal v. GNCTD, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 677 , decided on 29-06-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

NLU Delhi succumbed to the pressure that was being constantly exerted by GNCTD only to buy peace and without awaiting the recommendations of the Committee constituted by the Governing Council.

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad, JJ., while addressing the matter with regard to domicile reservation policy for the candidates who have passed qualifying examination from Delhi appearing held that,

It is well settled that when a statute provides for a thing to be done in a particular manner, it has to be done in that manner only.

Challenge in the present petition?

National Law University, Delhi has issued admission notification on 14th January, 2020 wherein they provided 50% horizontal reservation to candidates who have passed the qualifying examination from a recognized school/college/institute located within the NCT of Delhi as being void and ultra vires of the National Law University Act, 2007 and in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

Further another challenge was with regard to the prospectus released on 15th January, 2020 where admitting students to the LLM 1 year programme for 2020-21 session provides for 505 reservation for candidates passing the qualifying examination from a recognized school/college/institute situated within the National Capital Territory of Delhi.

Declare the above as unconstitutional.

Contentions

Senior Advocate, N.K. Kaul submitted that Institute of such excellence cannot reserve seats on the basis of domicile/place of residence or the place from where a student has passed his qualifying examination as that would be violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

Further, he also pointed out that even in cases of reservation based on residence for admission to medical colleges, the Supreme Court has frowned upon such policies in the judgement in Jagdish Saran v. Union of India, (1980) 2 SCC 768 and Dr Pradeep Jain v. Union of India, (1984) 3 SCC 654 He would contend that for a cosmopolitan city like Delhi, this criteria would not work.

Adding to his contentions, Senior Advocate also submitted that the said decision of reservation was primarily taken on account of the arm-twisting tactic adopted by the Delhi Government as it had decided not to release funds till NLU Delhi fell in line with the regional reservation policy of Delhi Government.

Decision and Analysis of the Court

At present Court proposed to deal only with interim relief and thus did not delve into wether reservation can be provided to students who have taken their qualifying examination from a recognised school, college/institute in Delhi and the extent to which the State Government can intrude into the autonomy of a University created with the object of achieving excellence in the field of legal education and research.

Court observed that there is nothing placed on record to demonstrate that any recommendation was placed before the Governing Council, which is the only body constituted under the NLU Act to take decisions on all important matters relating to the University and its functioning.

With regard to the above, bench stated that there was no justification for NLU Delhi to have bypassed the Governing Council and proceed to reserve seats for candidates passing the qualifying examination from a school/college/institute within NCT of Delhi .

In Court’s opinion, Section 20(7) does not vest any power on the vice-chancellor to side step issues which are pending before the Governing Council taking unilateral decision.

Bench observed that:

It also seems to be evident from the material on record that State has been exerting pressure on NLU Delhi to provide reservation upto an extent of 85% for students of Delhi.

Even the 50% horizontal reservation made by the respondent No.3/NLU, Delhi has not gone down well with the respondent No.1/GNCTD, who is insisting on 85% reservation for students of Delhi.

“…it is incomprehensible as to how the Council could be side-stepped.”

Court stated that it appears that NLU Delhi succumbed to the pressure that was being constantly exerted by GNCTD only to buy peace and without awaiting the recommendations of the Committee constituted by the Governing Council.

Thus, bench held that that petitioners have been able to make out a prima facie case in their favour.

Balance of convenience lied in staying the operation of impugned notification which provides for horizontal reservation to the extent of 50% for candidates who have passed the qualifying examination from a recognized school/college/institute situated within the NCT of Delhi. Status quo ante as of the previous academic year shall be maintained for making admissions to the BA LL.B (Five Year Programme) and LL.M (One Year Programme) in NLU, Delhi, for the academic year 2020-21.

Court directed NLU Delhi to issue a public notice on or  before 2nd July, 2020 with regard to the above decision. [Balvinder Sangwan v. State (GNCT) of Delhi, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 674  , decided on 29-06-2020]

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of D.N. Patel, CJ and Prateek Jalan, J., has taken cognizance of the news item published in few newspapers and news channels with regard to non-payment of salary to Resident Doctors of Kasturba Hospital and Hindu Rao Hospital/

Court noted the news items pertaining to the non payment of salary to the Resident Doctors of Kasturba Hospital and Hindu Rao Hospital situated at Delhi. Due to non-payment of salary for last three months, the resident doctors intend to either resign en masse or go on strike, published in the following newspapers/ news channel:

  • ANI
  • Aaj Tak
  • DNA
  • Hindustan Times
  • Amar Ujala
  • The Hindu
  • The Indian Express
  • Huffpost India

Standing Counsel, Akhil Mittal for respondent submitted that the resident doctors i.e. Junior Residents, Senior Residents and PG Doctors since March, 2020  have not been paid salaries due to financial constraints.

Counsel appearing for respondents 5, 6 and 7 has submitted that there are total of 370 Resident Doctors at Hindu Rao Hospital and 97 resident doctors at Kasturba Hospital.

It is assured by the respondent 5 that the payment of outstanding salary for the month of March, 2020 be paid to Junior Residents, Senior Residents as well as to PG doctors on or before 19th June, 2020.

Additional Solicitor General of India for respondent 3 and 4 submitted that they have already disbursed the legally payable amount to North Delhi Municipal Corporation in the month of May, 2020.

Nonetheless, they are ready to disburse an additional amount for payment of salary to the resident doctors. ASG assured that the amount shall be disbursed by 18th June, 2020.

Outstanding payment will be cleared for the months of March and April, 2020 to the resident and PG doctors of Hindu Rao Hospital and Kasturba Hospital as well as other hospitals listed.

Court further directed that as far as the payment of outstanding salary of March, 2020 is concerned, same shall be given to the Junior Residents, Senior Residents and PG Doctors in their bank accounts on 19th June, 2020.

Withe regard to payment for the month of April, 2020, same shall be made to all the resident doctors on or before 24th June, 2020.

Bench stated that without committing any violation, respondent 5 is expected to follow the aforesaid directions and the amount given by GNCTD for payment of salary for April, 2020 shall be utilized only for that specific purpose and for no other.

Thus, adjustment of the accounts can always be done at later stage but the salary is required to be paid on priority to the resident doctors.

This arrangement has been made as a special case for the resident doctors keeping in mind the non payment of salary since March, 2020 considering the current pandemic situation.[Court on its own motion v. UOI, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 647, decided on 12-06-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of Vipin Sanghi and Rajnish Bhatnagar, JJ., while addressing a petition stated that,

mere paperwork and consultations would not solve the eminent threat that the citizens of NCT of Delhi faces due to heightened seismic activity and that it is only actual work on ground which would come to rescue of the citizens.

Respondent’s counsel submits that the action plan for making buildings in Delhi seismic compliant had been notified to the Court.

Respondent submitted that all the Municipal Corporations are conscious of the seismic activity in Delhi and that they were working out a plan to implement the action plan.

High Court directed the three Municipal Corporations of Delhi to file affidavits explaining as to what the Plan of implementation is, how it is proposed to be implement on an urgent basis.

Government of NCT of Delhi, Delhi Development Authority, New Delhi Municipal Council and Delhi Cantonment Board shall also file similar affidavits as stated above.

It goes without saying that mere paperwork and consultations would not solve the eminent threat that the citizens of NCT of Delhi faces due to heightened seismic activity and that it is only actual work on ground which would come to rescue of the citizens.

In view of the above, Court stated that it hopes the respondents are conscious of the above stated concern, and some real work on the ground is undertaken to save the citizens from a possible catastrophe.

Bench directed GNCTD to take steps to sensitize not only other Government functionaries but also the public at large in the above regard. GNCTD to file an affidavit wherein steps that has been taken by GNCTD in the above regard and what further steps it proposes.

Matter to be listed on 18the June, 2020. [Arpit Bhargava v. North Delhi Municipal Corporation, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 643 , decided on 09-06-2020]

COVID 19Legislation UpdatesNotifications

No. F. 3(2)/Fin.(Rev-I)/2020-21/DS-VI/177.— In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 81 of the Delhi Excise Act, 2009 (Delhi Act 10 of 2010), the Lt. Governor of the National Capital Territory of Delhi hereby makes the following rules to further amend the Delhi Excise Rules, 2010, namely:-

1. Short Title and Commencement – (1)These rules may be called the Delhi Excise (Amendment) Rules, 2020.

(2) They shall come into force with effect from 10.06.2020.

(i) Amendment in Rule 154 – In the Delhi Excise Rules, 2010, in rule 154, in sub rule (4), in the table relating to Other Fees(Permit/Pass/Import/ Export), –

the entry in the table with description namely “special corona fee” with fee (in Rs) 70% of the maximum retail price on all categories of liquor sold through retail licensees for consumption “off” the premises inserted vide notification No. F.3(2)/Fin.(Rev-1)/2020- 21/DS-VI/150 dated 04/05/2020 stands deleted.

NOTIFICATION


GNCTD

[Notification dt. 09-06-2020]

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]
Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad, JJ., directed GNCTD, Transport Department to provide relief assistance to the eligible non-chip PSV Badge holders within 10 days.

The present Public Interest Litigation was filed to seek directions to respondent 4/ Department of Transport, Govt of NCT of Delhi, to provide a onetime financial benefit of Rs 5,000 to lifetime PSV badge holders.

It was alleged by petitioner that, as the announcement was made by the Chief Minister of Delhi with regard to the relief assistance package to  auto rickshaw, e-rickshaw and Gramin sewa vehicle drivers, as a compensation for the loss that they would suffer on account of the lockdown in view of COVID-19, the said relief was not received by PSV badge holders who were facing great hardship being unable to ply their vehicles.

Further it alleged that Transport Department was discriminating between PSV badge holders who had chip fixed in their badges vis-a-vis PSV badge holders who did not have the chip.

Transport Department submitted for the above that, it is giving financial assistance of Rs 5,000 to every PSV badge holder irrespective of whether the said badge is with or without a chip.

Department stated that it had made a software separately for chip based badges and non-chip based badges and applicants have been told to apply for receiving assistance of Rs 1,000 in terms of the format prepared in this regard.

Since the 2010 data was non-chip based smart card and was unavailable in the software of the Department, it had to be matched through a separate process initiated by the IT Wing of the Transport Department and now, all the eligible applicants have been identified.

Further the department submitted that out of 11780 non chip PSV badge holders, 4835 have been provided with the relief assistance.

Bench while giving the last opportunity to Transport Department granted 10 days time for the assistance to be released to the non-chip PSV Badge Holders, as enough time has been taken by the department. [Nayee Soch Society v. Ministry of Home Affairs, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 617 , decided on 29-05-2020]

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad, JJ., while dealing with the issue of non-provision of ration to e-coupon holders directed GNCTD to ensure that ration to be supplied to the said people by evening of 21-05-2020.

Grievance of the petitioner is that despite e-coupons being issued to residents, they still have not been delivered ration from the Ration Distribution centre for the past one month.

Petitioner’s Counsel K.K. Mishra, Advocate, submitted that respondent-1/ GNCTD has been requested that ration through e-coupons be delivered at the earliest because these e-coupon holders are returning empty handed due to paucity of ration.

Hetu Arora Sethi, Counsel for respondents 1, 3 and 4 assured the Court that all the e-coupon holders as mentioned shall be supplied ration through the Ration distribution centre set up. Further she sought 1 weeks time to supply the same.

Bench on perusal of the above, stated that,

“It is most unacceptable that e-coupons have been distributed in such a large number and yet e-coupon holders are left high and dry.”

GNCTD ought to have ensured that sufficient quantities of ration is made available in proportion to number of e-coupon issued for purposes of distribution.

Thus, respondents are directed to ensure that all pending e-coupon holders are supplied ration through ration distribution centre by 21-05-2020 evening and on failing the same, petitioner shall be entitled to approach the Court.

                                             “Any non-compliance shall be viewed seriously.”

Thus in view of the above, petition stands disposed of. [Shabnam v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi, WP(C) No. 3205 of 2020, decided on 10-05-2020]

COVID 19Legislation UpdatesNotifications

LG of Delhi while exercising powers conferred by sub-section 1 of Section 81 of Delhi Excise Act, 2009 (Act 10 of 2010) made Delhi Excise (Amendment) Rules, 2020 to amend the above stated rules.

With the said amendment, Special Corona Fee will be imposed on liquor wherein,

70% of maximum retail price on all categories of liquor sold through retail licensees for consumption “off” the premises.


Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi

[Notification dt. 04-05-2020]

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad, JJ. while addressing a petition with concern in regard to COVID-19 tests being conducted in Delhi, it held that,

“adequate remedial measures have been taken by Delhi Government to expedite receipt of reports for testing patients for COVID-19 infection.”

Advocate General, Rakesh Malhotra filed the present petition raising the grievance that GNCTD has not been taking expeditious steps to furnish reports after conduction of COVID-19 Tests on suspected people within a reasonable time of 48 hours or even earlier, due to which contact tracing is getting delayed and the deadly infection is multiplying rapidly in Delhi.

Petitioner attached a copy of Chief Medical Officer, Delhi’s Twitter Account handle wherein he states that the same is not being updates regularly with regard t the test results.

Learned ASC, Satyakam appearing for GNCTD stated that he has sent some documents by Whatsapp to the Court Masters adding to this he stated that he has also furnished information received from department concerned to Anurag Ahluwalia, CGSC and the petitioner.

Bench on perusal of the above documents, noted that

an order dated 29.4.2020, issued by the Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, GNCTD which reflects a decision taken by GNCTD vide order dated 22.4.2020 that till 03.05.2020, no sample shall be sent to NIB, Noida due to the delay in forwarding the reports, spreading over 15 days.

The order further states that samples shall be distributed among other government and private labs to ensure that the reports are received within one day from the date of submission to the respective labs.

Further Mr Satyakam, ASC clarified that the aforesaid order shall continue to operate for atleast 2 more weeks. As on date, there are 23 accredited labs that undertake COVID-19 testing in Delhi, out of which 10 are public sector and 13 private. Collective capacity of the aforesaid labs is 3000-3500 tests per day.

Adding to the above, ASC also submitted that, after finding that the reports were not being received within a reasonable time from NIB, Noida, GNCTD has stopped sending any further samples to NIB, Noida. Till the night of 03.05.2020, 3,790 reports are stated to be pending with the accredited labs and the said reports shall be received by today or maximum, by tomorrow.

Thus, Court in view of the submissions made by ASC appearing for GNCTD is satisfied that the adequate remedial measures have been taken by Delhi Government to expedite receipt of reports for testing patients for COVID-19 infection.

It is directed that Delhi Government shall continue updating its website on a regular basis to reflect the correct number of COVID-19 tests being conducted with specification of negatives and positives. [Rakesh Malhotra v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 574  , decided on 04-05-2020]

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of Siddharth Mridul and Talwant Singh, JJ. issued directions to address the concern for providing food grains to poor, under privileged and marginalized sections.

Bench observed the distress caused to the residents of the city due to the lockdown imposed in order to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The situation has been aggravated by the stated denial of access to food grain to the poor, under privileged and marginalized sections.

Court has been informed that, GNCTD is undertaking necessary steps to alleviate their suffering through various measures, stated to include the serving of hot meals twice a day at a large number of specified locations.

Court directed GNCTD to ensure that

  • all ration shops remain operational and disburse PDS food grains in accordance with the policy formulated by both the Central Government as well as the State Government in this regard.
  • ensure delivery of the requisite food grains from the PDS ration shops, on a regular basis between 09:00 am to 01:00 pm and 03:00 pm to 07:00 pm, on all seven days of the week.
  • Food grains are distributed to the poor, needy and marginalized non-PDS residents from the PDS, as well as, other distribution centers stated to be set-up by them, for the said purpose.
  • Sub-Divisional Magistrates of each district carry out strict and regular monitoring and oversight of the distribution of food grains, as afore directed and upload the details of shop-wise distribution of ration to both the PDS and non-PDS residents on their official website, at the end of each day.
  • GNCTD shall widely publicize and circulate the information qua the compliance of the directions issued herein above, both through the print and electronic media.
  • GNCTD is also directed to immediately place on their official website, as well as, publicize through the print and electronic media.

[Delhi Rozi-Roti Adhikar Abhiyan v. Union of India, WP (C) No. 2161 of 2017, decided on 27-04-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of Sanjeev Sachdeva and Navin Chawla, JJ.  addressed the petition with an action report being submitted pursuant to — Shaikh Mujtaba Farooq v. Union of India,  2020 SCC OnLine Del 49, decided on 30-03-2020.

It was submitted that Mr Kishan, Section Officer in District Magistrate’s Office was appointed as Nodal Officer to deal specifically with 275 riot affected families.

Senior counsel, Mr Gonsalves appearing for the petitioner submitted that Nodal Officer as well as the medical officers were in touch with representatives of the 275 families.

Adding to his contention, he submits that, some of the family members may not have ration cards as all their belongings were destroyed when their houses were burnt. In addition to cooked food some free ration is needed and accordingly they shall be approaching the nodal officer and expressing their requirements.

Senior Counsel expressed his concern with regard to the cleanliness of the areas.

Abhinav Aggarwal, Standing Counsel appearing for the East Delhi Municipal Corporation submits that two Community Centres have been made available by the Corporation to the GNCTD, which could be used as relief camps to accommodate the families of the riot victims, if required.

He added that, efforts are being made to ensure cleanliness in the area as well as cleaning of the drain with the present limited resources.

Rahul Mehra, on behalf of GNCTD stated with regard to the ration cards having being destroyed , if family members approached the nodal officer he will look into the said aspect.

Nodal officer is directed to look into the said aspect, if approached by the family members and ensure that in case dry ration is required by any of these families, the same is provided to them as per their entitlement.

Thus, looking at present situation of support and needs of the riot victims being taken care of, Court stated that no further orders are called for.

We expect that the Nodal and Medical officers shall continue to take proactive steps and provide help to these families in the manner that they are presently providing.

Matter to be listed on 04-05-2020 [Shaikh Mujtaba Farooq v. Union of India,  2020 SCC OnLine Del 497, decided on 03-04-2020]