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‘Ill-treatment of Covid-19 patients, lack of decent burial’: SC takes suo moto cognizance, hearing today

The bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan  took a suo moto cognizance of  a letter by former law minister Ashwani Kumar highlighting news reports in this regard.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: June 12, 2020 12:04:18 am
supreme court coronavirus update, supreme court covid patients, coronavirus patients treatment, covid patients dead bodies disposal A medic collects swab sample of a suspected Covid-19 patient for testing at Rajiv Gandhi Super hospital in New Delhi on Wednesday. (Express photo/Amit Mehra)

The Supreme Court will on Friday hear a matter pertaining to alleged harassment of Covid-19 positive patients and mishandling of bodies of those who succumbed to the virus.

The bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan took a suo moto cognizance of a letter by former law minister Ashwani Kumar highlighting news reports in this regard.

Earlier this month, Ashwani Kumar wrote to Chief Justice of India S A Bobde and other justices of the apex court, urging them to heed reports about coronavirus patients being ill-treated and bodies of those dying of the infection not being given a decent burial .

In his letter, dated June 8, he specifically referred to two alleged incidents from Madhya Pradesh and Puducherry.

“The tragic and condemnable sight of a Covid-19 patient being chained to a bed in a hospital in Madhya Pradesh and another sight in Puducherry of a dead body being thrown in a pit for burial, has shocked the conscience of the Republic committed to human dignity under the Constitution, which recognizes dignity as a core constitutional value at the pinnacle in the hierarchy of non-negotiable constitutional rights,” he said.

He said these incidents were a grave infraction of the citizen’s right to die with dignity, recognised by the apex court on various occasions. Kumar pointed out that the Supreme Court and different high courts have in the past given judgments declaring that the right to die with dignity and right to decent burial or cremation is fundamental.

In Delhi, meanwhile, the Aam Aadmi Party has dealt with complaints of hospitals refusing admission to suspect patients despite having enough beds. An FIR was also filed against the city’s Ganga Ram hospital’s Medical Superintendent for allegedly violating directions issued under the Epidemic Diseases Act.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has slammed “some private hospitals” in the Capital without naming any particular facility, saying they were “lying” about not having vacant beds, and indulging in “black marketeering”.

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