The Delhi High Court on Thursday said the existing medical infrastructure in the national capital was in shambles, and exposed when put to the test during the pandemic, as it directed the state government to provide facility for medical treatment required by all city residents suffering from Covid-19.
The sharp observations were made by a division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli while dealing with a plea seeking an ICU bed with ventilator facility for a 52-year-old suffering from Covid.
On the aspect of black marketing of oxygen cylinders and concentrators and medicines, the bench remarked that the moral fabric of people has been "dismembered" to a great extent as instead of coming together to fight the pandemic, they are engaging in hoarding and black-marketing.
It noted that coronavirus has mutated and is proving to be lethal, and the viral infection is causing inflammation in lungs and onset of pneumonia in lungs. The bench said in most cases, the patient requires supervision in ICU and even a ventilator, adding that it is the obligation of the state to provide sufficient infrastructure to save the lives of people.
However, it noted that the existing medical infrastructure in the state had been "completely exposed."
The High Court noted the Article 21 of the Constitution guaranteed the right to life and liberty to all, therefore the petitioner could not be turned away on account of lack of medical infrastructure.
"We are sworn to protect the fundamental rights of the people. Therefore, we are bound to issue a writ to provide the infrastructure to enable the petitioner to undergo the treatment required to save his life ......," it said.
It also clarified its order would not give any preferential right to the petitioner over others who are also suffering from Covid-19 and would thus have "an equal claim".
The High Court directed the Delhi government to provide medical facilities to all the persons suffering from Covid-19 in the national capital and added that patients requiring hospitalization, medication or ICU, or without ventilator must be provided the same too.
"We therefore direct that the government shall provide the required medical facility for all persons suffering from disease in Delhi," said the bench in its order.
During the hearing, the High Court noted that information on Tocilizumab medicine should be made available on the portal with transparency.
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