Updated: August 26, 2021 2:14:24 pm
The Delhi High Court Wednesday dismissed a petition challenging the Delhi government’s decision to reserve four hotels, which were linked with Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty Hospital and Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital, for treatment of state employees and their family members during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh said government officials and officers were out on the streets to manage the situation when the pandemic was raging and if they had fallen sick and not received treatment, the entire citizenry would have suffered.
“The wheels of the administration would have come to a grinding halt without even this much of an assurance that they would receive treatment in case they contracted Covid-19 disease,” said the court.
“How do you expect the government machinery to function if its personnel don’t have some assurance that in case during the performance of their services they were to contract the diseases they would at least get a bed for treatment,” it added.
The court also said that at a point of time, there was a massive dearth of beds for all people, including government servants, and the state was obliged to provide medical facilities to all the citizens, including those who were running the wheels of administration during “the height of the pandemic”.
“It is not that 240 (rooms) were reserved so there would be 120 people or 20 people over there and the remaining are just lying vacant. We did not see that situation in Delhi at the peak of the pandemic when these orders were issued. You cannot look in a vacuum. You have to look at these orders on the basis of the actual ground reality,” it said.
The bench also said that the government officials and officers were required to attend their duties during the second wave and cannot be compared with those who had the option to remain inbound and not step out to discharge their duties and obligations.
The court had issued a notice to the government on May 10 in the petition filed by Dr Kaushal Kant Mishra, who contended that the orders create an “invidious classification” in favour of an arbitrary class of persons who hold public office. “It is premised on the repulsive notion that the lives of certain individuals have greater worth than the lives of the 2-crore ordinary citizens of Delhi,” Kant had said in the petition.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.