The Delhi High Court Friday quashed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government’s circular on giving preference for medical treatment to city residents over non-residents at Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) Hospital. A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao had reserved the judgment on Monday to decide whether the state government’s pilot project was violating the right to equality and life enjoyed by others under the Constitution.
The court had earlier this week reserved the judgment on a PIL moved by NGO Social Jurist, through advocate Ashok Agarwal, opposing the pilot project initiated by the Delhi government at GTB Hospital.
The AAP government on Monday informed the court of the reasons for preferential treatment as huge influx of patients were putting a strain on the hospital’s infrastructure and staff as well as manhandling of doctors by patients or their attendants.
On behalf of the Delhi government, senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra earlier submitted before the court that no patient was denied treatment, access to tests or OPD facilities, and the hospital was only prioritising whom to treat first. He added that as the central government does not have many funds, Delhi government-run hospitals have to prioritise in this manner.
On the last date of hearing, the court asked, “Who is responsible for this? The courts? Or is it mismanagement? If you cannot manage then stop the facilities.” The bench orally said that the Delhi government ought to have evaluated the shortcomings and taken steps to rectify them, instead of taking away the rights of others by changing the manner in which they are provided treatment.