Order Reserving 80% ICU beds for Covid-19 Patients Stayed

On 22nd September 2020 Justice Naveen Chawla of the Delhi High Court passed an order staying the order dated 12.09.2020 issued by the Government of NCT of Delhi. 

As per the impugned order, the government of Delhi had directed private hospitals of the state to reserve 80 % ICU beds for COVID 19 patients.

Brief Facts of the Case:-

This instant petition was filed by the Association of Healthcare Providers India requesting the Court to quash the order dated 12.09.2020 issued by the government of Delhi directing the petitioners that 80 per cent hospital beds should be reserved for COVID 19 patients. The hospitals were allowed to temporarily increase their total bed capacity by 30 per cent, which should also be utilized by Covid-19 patients.

Arguments raised by the petitioner:-

As per the arguments raised by the petitioners, the order is wrong in law as it seeks to discriminate between Covid19 and non-COVID 19 patients while they both might require emergency treatment.

It was also submitted to the Court that hospitals could not reserve empty hospital beds for COVID Patients only as other patients might need them.

It was also alleged that no consideration was given to other patients raised by the petitioners by the government of Delhi.

Contentions of the Respondents

The respondents contended that the order was passed in Public Interest as there was a sudden rise in Covid-19 cases in Delhi.

They also submitted before the Court that urgent decisions were needed as the COVID 19 situation was dynamic in Nature.

The counsel for the respondents also submitted that as there are no allegations of discrimination or malafide intent, the Court should not interfere in the order. He also apprised the Court of the number of beds lying vacant in the hospital, and the number of admitted patients were also shared with the Court.

The Reasoning of the Court

The Court opined that the order to reserve 80 per cent ICU beds for COVID 19 patients was a violation of the fundamental rights of patients who might be suffering from other diseases. As per the Court the Court, the government cannot discriminate between patients suffering from COVID 19 and those suffering from other diseases.

It was also observed that it was not clear how the government reached its decision to reserve ICU beds as no data was put before the Court supporting the claim that 80 per cent ICU beds should be reserved. The Court also observed that the respondent has admitted that a large number of ICU beds were still lying Vacant in Delhi.

The decision of the Delhi High Court

After going through all the facts of the case, the Court opined that the order passed by the Government of NCT of Delhi was “ arbitrary and unreasonable and violative of the fundamental right guaranteed to the citizens of this country under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. :

The Court stayed the impugned order till the next hearing which will be held on 16.10.2020

Case Details:-

Title:- ASSOCIATION OF HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS INDIA vs Government of NCT of Delhi & Ors.

Case No. W.P. (C) 6756/2020

Date Of Order: 22.09.2020

Quorum:- Justice Naveen Chawla

Advocate:- Counsel for the Petitioner Mr.Maninder Singh, Sr. Adv: Counsel for the Respondents: Mr.Sanjoy Ghose and Mr.Anurag Ahluwalia, 

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