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Delhi HC refuses to declare entire Defence Colony as containment zone on account of COVID-19 cases in Block C

Aditi Singh

While dealing with a petition seeking enforcement of strict cluster containment, the Delhi High Court has refused to declare the entire Defence Colony as a containment zone. (Hemant Singh vs Govt of NCT of Delhi & Ors)

The order was passed by a Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Prateek Jalan in a petition moved by one Hemant Singh.

One of the various grievances raised by the Petitioner was that in spite of the presence of COVID-19 cases in Block-C, the Delhi Government had not declared Defence Colony as a containment zone in terms of the guidelines issued by Central Government on May 16.

The other issue raised by the Petitioner was of increasing the number of beds required for COVID-19 patients in hospitals given the rapid rate at which the infection was spreading.

In response to the petition, the Delhi Government informed the Court that as per the Centre's guidelines, if in a particular colony, one or two houses, or in a particular area within the colony, there is concentration of COVID-19 patients, the whole colony need not be declared as a containment zone.

Accordingly, the specific lanes in Block-C, Defence Colony where the COVID-19 cases were present, had already been declared as containment zone, the Court was informed.

In view of the above, the Court ordered,

In view of the aforesaid arguments canvassed by the learned counsel for the petitioner as well as learned counsel for the respondents and also looking to the fact that affected part of Defence Colony..has already been declared as containment zone, we see no reason to declare the whole Defence Colony as a containment zone.
Delhi High Court

The Court noted that in terms of the Central Government's guidelines, the geographical delineation of the containment zone was left to the district authorities/ urban local bodies, based on certain criteria.

Nonetheless, if in the future, keeping in mind the applicable guidelines or on advice given by the experts to Delhi Government, if there is need to declare any other part of Defence Colony as a containment zone, Delhi Government shall do so in accordance with the law, the Court clarified.

As far as the issue of increasing beds for COVID-19 patients was concerned, the Delhi Government stated that as per the latest figures, 4914 beds out of total 9179 beds were available as on June 9.

Delhi Government also stated that more than 2000 beds had been taken from the private hospitals for accommodating COVID-19 patients.

Further, a total 569 ventilators were available out of which 315 are being utilised and available, it was added.

The Court was also informed that pursuant to the order of the Lieutenant Governor, Chairman of State Disaster Management Authority, the availability of beds was also being displayed on electronic Board of every hospital in the city.

In view of the submissions, the Court opined that it appears that both the Delhi Government, as well as the Central Government, are aware of the need of more beds and have been dealing with it as well.

Considering the gravity of the situation, the Court proceeded to order,

..we hereby direct the respondents to increase the number of the beds for Covid patients and also try to increase the number of ventilators so that all Covid patients in need can get these facilities.
Delhi High Court

The Court also asked the Authorities to keep in mind the suggestion by Petitioner's counsel to utilize the “ready to move in” Government flats in the city for putting infrastructure like beds, etc for COVID-19 patients.

The petition was accordingly disposed of.

Advocate Mridul Chakravarty appeared for the Petitioner.

Additional Standing Counsel Shadan Farasat appeared for Delhi Government.

Centre was represented by Standing Counsel Anurag Ahluwalia.

Read the Order:

Hemant Singh vs NCT of Delhi.pdf
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