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The Supreme Court today asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to seek instructions on whether accommodation close to hospitals can be made for doctors handling COVID-19 cases.
The plea filed by Dr Arushi Jain, through Advocates Mithu Jain, and Arjun Syal sought separate residential facilities, closer to hospitals, for doctors treating patients affected by the novel Coronavirus.
Appearing for the petitioner, Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi argued that doctors need separate facilities else "Corona Warriors will fall."
To this, SG Mehta, appearing for the Union of India, stated that the "petitioner does not seem to have knowledge of the entire country." He said,
"By the April 7 order, state governments have ordered for requisitioning necessary accommodations. We are conscious of this. If there is any aberration, it may be brought to the notice of government."
"There are large number of hotels including 5-star hotels which have been requisitioned for doctors. The government has left no stone unturned and is trying its best to protect the Corona Warriors," the SG further added.
However, the Bench sought to know why the government could not requisition other places near the hospital itself.
When SG Mehta stated that it was a "good suggestion" and that it would be considered, Rohatgi argued that it was "too little and too few."
"In Delhi there are 10 hospitals where doctors are working at the COVID-19 frontline. We need to get information on how many hotels have been requisitioned," argued Rohatgi.
The Supreme Court has now asked SG Mehta to get instructions by next week on quarantine facilities near hospitals which can be provided for the doctors.
The application primarily seeks directions to the government so that necessary steps under Section 65 and Section 34 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 are taken to acquire/take over vacant hotels, guesthouses, state bhavans, sadans etc. for the purpose of providing alternative self-containing accommodation and/or quarantine facilities to frontline medical healthcare workers.
[Read plea here]