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Delhi HC issues notice in Plea challenging stay 80% ICU beds for COVID Patients

By Astha Joshi

The Delhi High Court issued a notice in Delhi Government’s appeal against an order on the stay – its direction to 33 private hospitals to reserve 80% ICU beds for COVID-19 patients. [GNCTD Vs. Association of Healthcare Providers (India)]

While the Delhi Government urged for clarification to allow hospitals who are willing to comply with the direction to perform so, a Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan said, “We are hearing the matter on 9th October. We will see.”

A Single Judge Bench had stayed the Delhi Government’s order on the reservation of 80% ICU beds for COVID-19 patients, considering prima facie, the order was arbitrary and violated Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

The stay order was passed by the Bench in the petition preferred by the Association of Healthcare Providers (India).

The Judge had told that the order would result in refusal of urgent care to severely ill non-COVID patients.

In the appeal before the Delhi High Court, the Delhi Government informed that there was an unusual increase in COVID-19 cases in the national capital. Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain explained,

“Every day is like playing a game of chess…When the game of chess in on, we have to take dynamic decisions.”

Furthermore, he emphasized that the change of COVID-19 patient from “moderately ill” to “severely ill” was seamless, and therefore, critical medical attention was needed.

ASG Jain submitted that there were adequate ICU beds for non-COVID patients as only 33 out of 1170 private hospitals and nursing homes were instructed to reserve ICU beds for COVID patients.

He went on, contended that the petition was merely based on trepidation as the Delhi Government’s order did not take away the rights of any party.

The Court directed the Association to record its response to the appeal while asking Delhi Government to return with data on ICU beds for both COVID and non-COVID patients.

The next hearing would be on October 9.