SC to listen to plea in opposition to HC order staying 80% reservation of ICU beds for COVID-19 sufferers

New Delhi, November 9

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on Tuesday an appeal filed by the Delhi government against the Delhi High Court’s order staying its decision to reserve 80 per cent ICU beds in 33 private hospitals for COVID-19 patients.

A Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and BR Gavai would take up the Delhi government’s plea for hearing on a vacation. The apex court is on Diwali break this week.

A single judge Bench of the high court on September 22 had stayed the Delhi government’s September 12 decision saying that asking 33 big private hospitals to reserve 80 per cent of ICU beds for COVID-19 patients would violate the fundamental rights of those having other health conditions.

The government has already challenged the single judge’s stay order before a Division Bench of the high court which has listed it for hearing on November 27.

While staying the Delhi government’s order, the high court had come down heavily on it asking whether the non-COVID-19 patients have a right to life or not.

It had observed that prima facie, the government’s order was “arbitrary, unreasonable and violative of fundamental rights of citizens” guaranteed under the Constitution.               

“The state cannot discriminate between a COVID-19 and a non-COVID-19 patient requiring emergent treatment. In time of emergency, such patients cannot be told to run around finding a hospital where beds have not been reserved for COVID-19 patients. The disease itself cannot be a ground for such discrimination,” the single judge Bench had said in its September 22 order.

The single judge Bench had passed the order on a plea by ‘Association of Healthcare Providers’ challenging the Delhi government’s September order.

Over the last few days, Delhi has reported record spikes in coronavirus cases. The national capital reported its biggest single-day jump of 7,745 cases on Sunday, taking its tally to 4,38,529.

On the national level, India’s COVID-19 caseload rose to 85,53,657 with 45,903 new infections being reported, while the number of people who have recuperated from the disease crossed 79 lakh, pushing the national recovery rate to 92.56 per cent, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday.

The death toll from the disease climbed to 1,26,611 with 490 new fatalities being registered, the data updated at 8 am showed. PTI

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