Updated: April 28, 2021 7:13:42 am
THE DELHI High Court Tuesday said it had not made any request to the Delhi government for setting up a 100-room Covid Health Centre at Ashoka Hotel, a five-star facility, for judges and judicial officers and their families.
Initiating a suo motu public interest litigation, the High Court issued a notice to the Delhi Chief Secretary and Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Chanakyapuri, asking them to file a response. It also said the media was not wrong in pointing to the order.
“This is very very misleading. (The) High Court has not made any such request for allocation of any beds in five-star hospitals of this kind. There is absolutely no communication in this regard. We are taking cognisance of this and we have issued an order. You please file a response to this,” the division bench of Justices Vipin In a press statement issued later, it said 690 staff officials of the High Court and the District Courts, 93 judicial officers and few High Court judges were infected with coronavirus over the last one month.
“Being alive to the current situation and the limited available resources, the government was conveyed to create a suitable mechanism for redressal of said issues. There was never any demand or request for reserving any Hotel for anyone, much less a five-star facility ,” it said in the statement.
The facility, as per the order issued by Sub-Divisional Magistrate Geeta Grover on Sunday, was to be linked to Primus Hospital. However, the court orally told the government officials that the order be withdrawn.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said Tuesday evening that the order had been withdrawn with immediate effect.
During the hearing, the High Court said the government was passing orders left, right and centre without bothering or meaning to do anything about it. “The projection is as if we have taken this matter (the one in which the court has been monitoring the Covid-19 situation in Delhi) to benefit ourselves or that you have done this to appease us,” the court told the Delhi government.
“The only purpose of having a meeting was the judiciary, particularly the subordinate judiciary judge who are having to attend courts… some of them necessarily hold courts… judges are going for remand purposes… many of them have have got infected. Their families have got infected. We have already lost two judicial officers. Our concern as their well wishers… since it was on us to take care of them… therefore all that we wanted was that in case they need any hospital admission then there should be some facility available. That has been translated into this kind of an order… as if we wanted this 100-bedded facility,” explained the bench.
Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra, who represented the Delhi government, said the media’s perception cannot be controlled by anyone and that the media was playing a mischievous game. The court, however, told Mehra the point was the state has done it on the request of Delhi High Court.
“Would it not be patently discriminatory when people are not able to get beds and we say you reserve beds for us,” said the court. “You cannot simply create (a) facility for any class… It is unthinkable that we as (an) institution will want preferential treatment when people are dying on roads.”
In the press statement, the High Court said a facility had been made operational on Tuesday at the Delhi Judicial Academy to take care of the staff officials having mild and moderate infection.
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