The Delhi High Court on Friday has directed District Magistrate- South Delhi to provide a special diet as semi-solid or liquid to the patients in need at Gargi School or rain basera/ night shelter.

A bench comprising Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar was hearing a PIL filed by Karan Seth seeking directions regarding the treatment and accommodation for hundreds of outstations patients and their attendants who were earlier being treated at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi (AIIMS) for several ailments as AIIMS stand converted into an exclusive facility to treat Covid-19 patients.

The Standing Counsel Delhi Government, Mr. Rahul Mehra pointed out that Delhi Government has filed a list of hospitals that are offering free non-COVID treatment. He further submitted that out of 37 hospitals administered by the GNCTD, only 2 have been converted into exclusive COVID-19 facilities, and the remaining 35 hospitals continue to provide treatment to non- COVID-19 patients irrespective of their place of residence.

Whereas, Advocate Mr. Darpan Wadhwa appearing for the petitioner submitted before the court that on the last date it was informed that the persons housed in the rain basera/ night shelter would be shifted to Gargi School. However, the two lists prepared by the petitioner show that 76 persons were shifted to Gargi School, and 74 persons continue to remain at the rain basera/ night shelter.

Mr. Wadhwa also informed the Court that Social distancing norms are not being followed and maintained in respect of those who continue to be housed at rain basera/ night shelter.

Advocate Mr. Parvinder Chauhan appearing for Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) pointed out that there are two kinds of accommodation provided by the DUSIB, namely, tents (on the footpath opposite AIIMS) and the night shelters (semi pucca structure with toilet facilities). He further informed the Court that the occupants of the tents have been shifted to Gargi School. He also accepted the fact that social distancing norms are not being followed due to a large number of occupants. 

Mr. Wadhwa submitted before the Court that, “it may be necessary to shift about 100 occupants, either to Vishram Sadan of AIIMS – if additional capacity is available there, or to Gargi School, or Radha Swami Satsang at Bhati, wherever they could be accommodated.”

Responding to the contention made by Mr. Wadhwa, Mr. Mehra Submitted that the said organization has to be consulted, in case, the occupants of the night shelter/ rain basera, or some of them, have to be shifted there.

The Court has directed Advocate Mr. Anand Verma appearing for AIIMS to take instructions from the AIIMS whether these inmates of the night shelter, or some of them, can be accommodated within the Vishram Sadan of AIIMS, because these patients are receiving treatment at AIIMS, and it would be more convenient if they are accommodated therein.

Mr. Wadha also made an argument concerning transportation facilities in respect of persons who have been shifted to Gargi School. these persons are not able to arrange private transport in these times, and also on account of their financial position that they find it difficult to travel to AIIMS to receive treatment. Whereas, as Radha Swami Satsang facility at Bhati, the DTC has made available transportation and similar facility may also be provided at Gargi School.

The Court after hearing to the parties directed the DM- South to make transportation facilities available to the inmates at Gargi School for them to be able to travel to AIIMS whenever required for receiving treatment.

The Court has also directed AIIMS to file a better status report. 

Further, on the averments made by Mr. Wadhwa that some patients at Gargi School and the rain basera require special diet as semi-solid or liquid, the Court directed the DM- South on this to look into the matter and provide the same. 

The matter is further listed on 14th May 2020.