Wholly unfair, demotivating to undermine efforts put by medical staff: Delhi HC on plea alleging denial of treatment to non-COVID19 patients

Wholly unfair, demotivating to undermine efforts put by medical staff: Delhi HC on plea alleging denial of treatment to non-COVID19 patients

Aditi Singh

While dealing with a petition alleging that non-COVID19 patients were being denied treatment in hospitals, the Delhi High Court remarked that at the present stage, undermining the efforts put by the medical staff or the Government agencies in providing medical aid and assistance, would be wholly unfair, inappropriate and demotivating for those working dedicatedly and tirelessly on ground. (Yash Aggarwal vs UOI)

Observing that every sector, whether Government or private, which was working in the field of health or administration or law and order, including the citizens, was contributing in its own way to battle COVID-19 pandemic, a Division Bench of Justices JR Midha and Jyoti Singh said,

There can hardly be any doubt that given the magnitude of the calamity and the pandemic, the task undertaken by the health workers or the other workers on the frontline, both inside and outside the hospital, of rendering medical aid and treatment to a patient suffering with COVID-19, is a gigantic and herculean task.. Every single day is posing new challenges. At this stage, therefore, for anyone to undermine the efforts put by the medical staff or the Government agencies in providing medical aid and assistance, would, in our view, not only be wholly unfair and inappropriate but also demotivating for those working dedicatedly and tirelessly, 24x7 on ground.
Delhi High Court

The Court also penned down its appreciation for the work being done by various professionals as it stated,

“..we take this opportunity to applaud and commend the work being done by the doctors, nurses, paramedical staff and all others associated with them in various hospitals and dispensaries and clinics. We also appreciate the brilliant work being done by the other Government agencies on the Administrative side including police, armed forces, paramilitary forces, to name a few, who amongst other tasks are helping the health workers. COVID-19 is an unprecedented calamity, globally, which has left no country, across the globe, untouched with its scathing and devastating effect."

The Petitioners, Yash Aggarwal and Chitrakshi, had moved the PIL seeking a direction to provide medical aid and treatment to patients suffering from varied illnesses and diseases, other than COVID-19.

It was the grievance of the Petitioners that the hospitals were not attending to many cases of medical emergencies and many a times were refusing to entertain patient who wanted to undergo dialysis or chemotherapy.

The Central Government and the Delhi Government informed the Court that all steps had been taken to ensure that non-COVID illnesses and diseases were being attended to.

The Court's attention was drawn to the order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on April 15, detailing the Guidelines to ensure that all health services (including AYUSH) remained functional.

Central Government added that guidelines for enabling delivery of essential medical services, regular supply of medicines for diseases like Tuberculosis, Leprosy, Hypertension etc during the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as for providing services for maternal and child health, communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases and emergency and critical care services, were also in place.

Inter alia, a citizen-friendly web based teleconsultation “e-Sanjeevani OPD” had also been developed to provide healthcare services to patients through safe and structured video-based clinical consultations, the Court was informed.

The Delhi Government further added that in case of any grievance with respect to non-treatment, one may approach the Control Room of Government of NCT of Delhi.

It was stated that the Delhi Government has also issued an Office Memorandum to facilitate emergency medical treatment of patients who require haemodialysis, chemotherapy, angiography, etc.

After a lengthy hearing on the matter, the Court opined that guidelines were in place for treating non-COVID illnesses and diseases to the best of their capacity.

"Thus, in our view, the contention of the petitioners that nonCOVID-19 patients suffering from cancer or kidney diseases, etc. are not being treated, is incorrect. ..Needless to state that if any citizen has any grievance, it can approach the competent Authorities in the Government, to seek appropriate redressal through the helplines and dedicated Whatsapp numbers. Respondents will give wide publicity to the helpline numbers and continue to render medical aid and assistance to the citizens."
Delhi High Court said.

In view of the above, the Court opined that no further orders were required to be passed and the petition was disposed of.

Advocate Sumedh Rishi appeared along with the Petitioners-in-person.

Centre was represented by Standing Counsel Anurag Ahluwalia.

Standing Counsel T Singhdev appeared for Delhi Government.

Medical Council of India was represented through Advocate Tarun Verma.

Read the Order:

Yash Aggarwal vs UOI.pdf
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