Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 23
As the COVID-19 situation worsened in many parts of the country, the Supreme Court on Monday pulled up Delhi and Gujarat governments over poor handling of the pandemic.
A Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan asked all states and union territories to file status reports along with measures steps and contemplated as also the help needed from Centre to deal with the pandemic.
Noting that the situation was likely to further worsen in December, the top court said all states and the Centre must take adequate steps and be well-equipped to deal with COVID-19.
“We are hearing huge spike in the current month. We want a latest status report from all states. Worse things may happen in December if states aren’t well prepared,” the top court said while seeking status reports from all states, and union territories on patient management and other issues relating to the pandemic.
“We want to know how are you managing the situation, the SC asked the Delhi government. How are hospitals treating patients? Are their enough beds?” the Bench sought to know from the government.
On behalf of the Delhi government, senior advocate and Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain said everything was completely in place in the national capital. He said beds have been reserved for COVID-19 patients in all hospitals now.
But Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said Delhi needed to do a lot more.
He said the Home Minister had a meeting on November 13 and various directives were been issued and steps taken to improve the situation in Delhi.
Mehta said the Centre will file an affidavit on COVID-19 situation in the country, especially Delhi.
The Bench said the situation was likely to further worsen and states will have to gear up for actions need to deal with the pandemic.
The top court asked states and the Centre to file affidavits/status reports by Thursday and posted the matter for further hearing on Friday.
Terming the situation created by COVID-19 pandemic in Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal as “horrendous”, the Supreme Court had on June 12 taken suo motu cognisance of the issue, saying media reports indicated a sorry state of affairs in handling of COVID-19 crisis by some of the states.
It had issued notices to the Centre and these states asking them to explain the lapses in treating patients and offering a dignified departure to the dead. Since then it has been monitoring the handling of the pandemic by states.
The top court had impressed upon the States to ensure that there was steep increase in the testing both by government hospitals and private labs and whosoever desired for testing should not be denied on any technical ground or any otherground.
It had also asked states to consider simplifying the procedure so that more and more tests be held to benefit the patients.