"Gross breach of cooperative federalism", Plea in SC against Delhi Govt move to restrict medical facilities amid COVID-19 to Delhi residents
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"Gross breach of cooperative federalism", Plea in SC against Delhi Govt move to restrict medical facilities amid COVID-19 to Delhi residents

While Delhi's Lieutenant Governor has now rolled back the notification to some extent, the petitioner contends this order is limited to COVID-19 patients and not other citizens.

Debayan Roy

A Public Interest Litigation has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the Delhi government's notification directing private hospitals in Delhi have to admit only ‘bona fide residents of NCT of Delhi’ for treatment amid the COVID-19 pandemic (Sarthak Chaturvedi versus State of NCT of Delhi & another).

The petition filed by Advocate Sarthak Chaturvedi through Advocate on Record Namit Saxena has challenged the Delhi Government's June 7 notification as "arbitrary, devoid of merits, unjust, unfair and unreasonable and deserves to be quashed for violating Article 14, 15, 19 and 21 of the Constitution."

The PIL drawn by Advocate Shubham Jaiswal states that in restricting medical treatment by hospitals under the Government as well as private hospitals in the capital to only residents of one particular area of the country, the notification also violates Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India.

One of the primary grounds taken by the plea is that by limiting those who can avail medical facilities by barring patients from other States, the June 7 notification is in "gross breach of cooperative federalism."

It has also been argued that the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897 does not confer any power on the Delhi Government to restrict the medical treatment of individuals on the basis of residence.

While Delhi's Lieutenant Governor has now rolled back the notification to some extent, the petitioner contends this order is limited to COVID-19 patients and not other citizens.

The plea avers that the challenged notification creates a class bias amongst citizens between "those who are residents of Delhi, those who are ‘bona fide’ residents of Delhi and the rest entire country."

"This is not only violative of Article 14 but also violates right to movement under Article 19(1)(d) and right to settle under Article 1," reads the plea.

Read the Petition:

Final writ Sarthak Chaturvedi.pdf
Preview

On Monday, the Delhi Government’s move to reserve State-run hospitals and private hospitals for the COVID-19 treatment of only "bonafide residents" of Delhi, was effectively overruled by Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, Anil Baijal.

To this end, Baijal has issued an order, in his capacity as the Chairperson of Delhi Disaster Management Authority, directing all authorities concerned to ensure that medical treatment is not be denied to any person on the grounds of being a non-resident of Delhi.

In response to the Lieutenant Governor's Order, Delhi Chief Minsiter Arvind Kejriwal has tweeted that it was perhaps God's wish that the Delhi Government serve the entire nation. Remarking that although it was a challenge to provide treatment to everyone, Kejriwal has said that the Government will try to accommodate all.

Meanwhile, several petitions had already been moved challenging the move before the Delhi High Court.

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