Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal Monday directed the departments and agencies to “not deny” treatment to non-residents of the city, effectively striking down the AAP government’s decision on reservation of hospital beds taken on Sunday.
In an order, issued in his capacity as the chairperson of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), Baijal pointed out that the Supreme Court has time and again upheld the right to health as an integral part of “Right to Life” under the Indian Constitution.
“And whereas, all Government and private hospitals and nursing home situated in the NCT Of Delhi have to extend medical facilities to all Covid-19 coming for monitoring/ treatment without any discrimination of being resident resident of NCT of Delhi.
“Now, therefore, in exercise of powers conferred under Section 18(3) of the Act the undersigned in his capacity as the Chairperson of the DDMA hereby directs all departments and authorities concerned of NCT of Delhi, to ensure that treatment is not denied to any patient on the ground of not being a resident of Delhi,” Baijal said in his order.
Reacting to the order, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said this would mean a huge challenge for Delhi and its residents. “The LG’s order has created a challenge and a problem for Delhi. It will be very difficult to treat patients from across the country amid the coronavirus pandemic. But maybe God wishes that we serve the people of the whole country. We will try to make the requisite arrangements,” Kejriwal tweeted.
Deputy CM Manish Sisodia said the BJP was behind the LG’s order, and the party would have to now take responsibility for any Covid-19 deaths in Delhi.
Baijal also cited a 2018 Delhi High Court order in making his case against the move to reserve beds. A copy of the order has been shared with CM Kejriwal, Revenue Minister Kailash Gahlot, Delhi Police Commissioner among others.
On Sunday, Kejriwal had announced that beds in Delhi’s private hospitals and in hospitals run by the state government will be reserved for residents of Delhi until the Covid-19 pandemic subsides.
Hospitals run by the central government, such as the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, and Safdarjung Hospital etc. and private hospitals that undertake specialised surgeries were kept out of the ambit of the policy.
The decision comes a day before a key meeting of the DDMA, where top officials of the administration are supposed to assess whether the national capital has entered the community transmission stage. At the meeting, which will be chaired by Baijal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia will represent the government in place of Kejriwal, who is unwell.