The Supreme Court Friday took suo motu cognizance of the fire in a Rajkot hospital which left five Covid-19 patients dead and sought a report from Gujarat government on the mishap.
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and M R Shah also expressed concern about gatherings at political rallies and marriages and called for steps to address the situation.
The bench said the fire in Rajkot is not the first such incident in Covid hospitals and that it was taking cognizance of all the cases. “It is not the first incident, in a Covid Hospital, where due to fire, patients have died. These incidents are being repeated from state to state and from hospital to hospital. We notice that neither concrete steps have been taken by the states in this regard nor any mechanism to prevent or ameliorate the situation is in place.”
The court was hearing a matter in which it had taken suo motu cognizance of a matter pertaining to proper treatment of Covid-19 patients and dignified handling of dead bodies in hospitals.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the Centre, told the court that he “is aware of” the “incident…and (will) ensure that immediate steps will be taken by tomorrow and shall also submit a report indicating measures taken, to the Court by the next date of hearing”.
The court asked the Gujarat government counsel to submit a report “with regard to the…incident which took place in Rajkot and earlier incidents of fire in Covid Hospitals resulting in death of patients in the State”.
Justice Reddy raised questions about implementation of guidelines by the states and referred to large gatherings still happening. “Second wave has started,” he said, adding, “need of the hour was social distancing and masks”.
Justice Bhushan said the issues highlighted by the court need to be looked at from a pan-India angle.
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